The 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion included as a principle the need to address gender inequalities in the risks of poverty and policy responses. This is an important principle when the gender pay gap together with inequalities in employment opportunities and slow changing roles in the family in parts of Europe results in specific and high risks of poverty for significant numbers of women. URBACT Project WEED‘s review of interventions to address the issue in cities across Europe highlighted how a failure to address women’s poor position in the labour market not only leaves women at significantly greater risk of poverty than men, it is also a lost opportunity for stimulating economic growth. As we approach the end of 2010 there is a danger that the economic crisis will leave women facing a ‘triple jeopardy’ of slashed benefits, jobs cuts, and a reduction in the core public services they rely on for themselves and those they care for: all the more reason to make sure the Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015 announced by the European Commission in September is used to strengthen national and local resolve. It is important that gender equality does not become a mere ‘good weather’ policy.
Professor Gill Scott
Lead Expert WEED project