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Women’s poverty and social exclusion in the European Union at a time of recession - An Invisible Crisis?

June 9th 2011

Joint report by the European Women’s Lobby and Oxfam International

An Invisible Crisis?”, a joint report commissioned and researched by the European Women’s Lobby and Oxfam International, explores and analyses the impact of the recession from a gendered perspective.

The report tracks the impact of the recession for women as a whole, and particularly for members of vulnerable groups who face multiple disadvantages. Its findings indicate that whilst the recession is already having a significant negative effect on the lives of women, both inside and outside the labour market, this impact remains largely invisible in the mainstream dialogue.

The key findings of the report are:

  • Policy responses to poverty in general, and to economic recession in particular, need to acknowledge that poverty is gendered.
  • Existing macro-economic data is not sufficiently sensitive to reveal both existing poverty and the effects of recession, on women’s lives.
  • The impact of the recession is significant and damaging for both men and women living in poverty.
  • Priorities for government action are often based on a norm, which prioritises subsidies to, for example, car plants and the construction industry which tend to employ men, over subsidies to sectors such as textiles or retail which employ more women.
  • Reductions in public expenditure will always have a major – and disproportionate – impact on women’s livelihoods, as women are in the majority in the public sector workforce
  • The impact of the recession on women is likely to become more acute over time as the effects of labour-market shifts are increasingly felt within households, and cuts in public expenditure affect public services and the many women who work in them and use them.

To read the full report please click here