The North East of England is a place where women’s economic inequality presents a major stumbling block to women’s chances of escaping poverty for themselves and their families. The vast majority of people affected by austerity in the North East are women, because they are bearing the brunt of public sector cuts; because of the low-paying, low status sectors in which they work; because of the effects of welfare and pension changes, or because they are out of the workforce as unpaid carers.
Background to the ‘Women in the Economy’ working group
Following an event in May 2014 which highlighted the economic inequalities facing women in the north-east region, a small task group was formed to review and strengthen NEWN’s recommendations to policy makers and strategic funders across the region.
Task group meeting notes
A collaboration between Oxfam and NEWN to work towards a charter (draft) to influence policy makers and funders resulted in a series of consultative events in early 2015 to help shape the priorities for the work.
Women Employability and Welfare Reform (programme)
An event took place on 3rd March 2016 at the West End Women and Girls Centre, Newcastle to summarise these discussions and to explore ideas for future action. The event was for women’s organisations and groups to focus on what support they need to position their projects and services into the economic agenda. For example:
Collaborative projects to deliver holistic women focussed approaches to self-empowerment and skills development:
- Engaging women in community-based enterprise and employment support
- Detached work with marginalised and isolated women in rural areas
- Meeting the needs of survivors of violence and abuse as they rebuild their lives.
- Improving women’s health through developing women focused locality hubs
- Skilling up, empowering and motivating women in the Criminal Justice system
The programme included:
- Setting the scene on devolution and economic inclusion
- Gender equality and European funding.