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Tories let women down; views.

LOUISE Mensch, a rich, privileged Conservative MP, is trying desperately to reinvent her party as supporters of feminism.

But put the microscope on her party's policies and you can see how they create barriers to equal opportunities, especially for working class women.

A big barrier to women's freedom is low income levels leading to poverty.

The public sector pay freeze and planned pay cap will impact worst on women as the majority of public sector workers are women.

Ms Mensch expects us to applaud the fact that 80 per cent of the lowest earners, exempted from the pay freeze, are women.

But if the Con-Dem Government really cared about women's welfare they wouldn't condemn them to poverty pay. Many public sector workers, again primarily women, are already being displaced or made redundant as the Tories implement their agenda to shrink the welfare state and brutally attack public services.

Progressives have an agenda of supporting and strengthening the welfare state which not only employs many women, but offers financial safety nets for working class women and our children.

Working class women have no trust funds or rich parents to fall back on in a period of rising unemployment.

Tories also attack state provision of health and education that working class people rely on the most. Tory child support agency reforms propose to charge single parents a fee for arranging support payments. This regressive idea is a blatant attack that will hit single mothers hard.

The ability to control our fertility, also crucial to women's liberation, came under attack by Tory MP Nadine Dorries who campaigned to reduce the legal time limit for abortion. Dorries also proposed that independent abortion providers provide counselling to women seeking a termination. This would have let pro-life and religious backed groups flood the 'market'.

When the sexist Tories talk about "sustainable funding cycles" for women's services, they actually want to farm out state provision of services to other sectors including faith groups with an abysmal track record.

This Government's accelerated public service cuts also hit working class women and our children with the closure of one o'clock clubs and play schemes which all help to ease the daily task of childcare.

A recent report shows that 31 per cent of funding for domestic and sexual violence services has been scrapped by Tory cuts over the last year. So now some women in abusive relationships will remain trapped and may even end up badly injured or dead.

Already these cuts have led to hundreds of vulnerable women being turned away from emergency shelter accommodation and directed to sleep in the Occupy camps, on night buses or in accident and emergency units. Some Tory MPs talk positively about women's rights but their policies expose the lie that they are feminists when in reality they are misogynists.

Anthony Burton, Castle Bromwich
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 21, 2012
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