Posts Tagged ‘Bangladeshis’

Austerity: Making Women Poorer and Removing their Protections from Violence

January 1, 2020

I found this passage explaining how women have been among the worst affected by the Tories’ austerity policies in Vickie Cooper’s and David Whyte’s The Violence of Austerity. Since the policy was introduced, women have suffered a particularly greater loss of income than other groups, and the Tories have massively cut the funding for their protection. The writers state

Moreover, as political sociologist Daniela Tepe-Belfrage has argued, gender is a key marker in determining:

the largest drop in disposable income since the crisis has been experienced by women. Women are also more likely to be employed in the public sector or be subcontracted to the state via private sector organisations (for example, in the form of cleaners or carers). As the UK’s austerity policy regime has especially targeted public services women have been particularly affected, facing wage drops and job losses. Austerity has also had a ‘double-impact’ on women as, buy virtue of being disproportionally in caring roles, they tend to be more likely to depend on the public provision of social services such as childcare services or care provision.

Research published by the Northern Rock Foundation and Trust for London found that austerity has had a sudden and dramatic impact on services supporting women victims of domestic violence. Between 2009/10 and 2010/11 there was a 31 per cent cut in the Local Authority funding for domestic and sexual violence support. The report stated clearly that: ‘These cuts in service provision are expected to lead to increases in this violence.’ The report noted that 230 women were beinig turned away by the organisation Women’s Aid because of lack of provision in 2011. (p. 14).

Women of colour have been especially affected.

The multiple and intersectional nature of class, gender, disability and race means that, for example, black women will be exposed to austerity policies differently to white women. Social support for black women, already paltry, has been cut to the bone in the austerity period., just as support for refugees and people seeking asylum has been subject to the confluence of a range of policy prejudices. (same page).

Akwugo Emejulu and Leah Bassel discuss the particularly high unemployment rates for BAME women in their chapter, ‘Women of Colour’s Anti-Austerity Activism’. They state that women of colour were actually extremely impoverished before the Coalition government started the policy. They write

Well before the 2008 crisis, women of colour, on the whole, were already living in an almost permanent state of austerity. As the All Party Parliamentary Group for Race and Community noted in its inquiry into the Labour market experiences of Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in Britain: ‘For all groups except for Indian men, ethnic minority unemployment has consistently remained higher than the rate for white people since records began.’ African and Caribbean women have an unemployment rate of 17.7 per cent, for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women it is 20.5 per cent, compared to 6.8 per cent for white women. Women of colour who are employed are more likely to be concentrated in low-skilled, low paid and temporary work – regardless of their educational qualifications. These unequal experiences in the labour market, unsurprisingly, translate into high levels of household poverty with poverty rates for minority groups at 40 per cent – doubtle the rate of the white population in 2007. (p. 118)

They note that these rates of poverty do not feature in either popular or policy discussions about the austerity crisis, and ask ‘whose crisis counts and whose crisis is being named and legitimated?’

They then go on to discuss some of the reasons why Black women are particularly worse off.

Austerity causes further immiseration due to its uneven effects. Because women of colour are more likely to be employed in the public sector in feminised professions such as teaching, nursing and social work, because women of colour and migrant women in particular are more likely to be subcontracted to the state via private sector organisations in low-skilled, low paid and temporary work as carers, cleaners and caterers, and because women of colour are more likely to use public services because they are typically the primary care givers of children and/or older adults, austerity measures clearly increase women of colour’s unemployment while simultaneously reducing the scope, coverage and access to public services. (pp.118-9)

But don’t worry – the Tories and Lib Dems are right behind women, because the Tories have had two women leaders – Margaret Thatcher and Tweezer – and the Lib Dems have had one, Jo Swinson. Labour is obviously full of misogynists, because they don’t have any. Even though Corbyn’s policies would have made women better off and there was a solid commitment to racial equality, which the Tories definitely don’t have.

And under Boris Johnson, is all going to get worse.

Vox Political: Goldsmith Plays the Race Card against Sadiq Khan in Campaign to Be Mayor

January 5, 2016

Zac Goldsmith, the Tory candidate for mayor of London, has accused his rival, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, of playing the race card. Khan had objected to Goldsmith’s election literature, which described him as a ‘radical’ and ‘divisive’. Mr Khan believed that Goldsmith was trying to stir up prejudice against him as a Muslim. Goldsmith, however, has stated that he merely described him thus, because of his support for Corbyn. Mike says in his article, at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/05/goldsmithkhan-who-exactly-is-playing-the-race-card-here/

Does nobody else think there’s something odd about Mr Goldsmith’s indignation – considering his campaign chiefs were said to be investigating an “Islamophobe canvasser” only days ago?

Join the dots: If the Goldsmith leaflet said Mr Khan – who is a Muslim – is radical, it’s not a huge stretch for any rank-and-file canvasser to draw the wrong conclusion and spread a message that is entirely inappropriate.

Furthermore, it seems odd that a campaign which states that identifying anyone as “the Muslim” is unacceptable would defend the use of the word “radical” in its leaflets. Even though “radical” is an acceptable political term, it has become associated with the word “Muslim” in a derogatory way.

This is the old trick, beloved of playground bullies, of sneering at someone in coded language and then feigning complete innocence. And for many Londoners, such language about a Muslim candidate will bring back memories of Lutfur Rahman at Tower Hamlets. His administration of the borough council was accused, not least by Private Eye, as being very heavily influenced by the politics of his local mosque, characterised by a strong bias towards Muslims and the Bengladeshi community against the other ethnic and religious groups.

I don’t know much about London politics, but Khan strikes me as being far less controversial in appearance and conduct than many other Labour MPs. In the 1987 election, for example, I can remember one of the tactics of the Sun was to put up pictures of various politicos along with supposed quotes showing them to be hard left, and, if Black or Asian, anti-White. Diane Abbott, for example, was quoted by the Sun to have said, ‘All Whites are racist’. Abbott still remains controversial, but has since gone on to become a respected parliamentarian. She even appears regularly on the Daily Politics with Andrew Neil. Despite the media, Tories and Blairites spitting teeth about Corbyn’s alleged radicalism, neither Corbyn nor Mr Khan are as extreme as their predecessors three decades ago, when the Tories were falling over themselves to push stories about ‘Loony Labour’.

This looks very much like Goldsmith and the Tories trying to play on people’s fears of Islam, while denying they are doing any such thing. It’s been a favourite Tory tactic for a very long time. Don’t be taken in. The person here trying to create division is Zac Goldsmith.