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A Christmas Round-up

We look back at what we've achieved in 2018

2018 has been a tumultuous year by all accounts. We’re no closer to knowing what Brexit will look like, but there is widespread consensus that it poses a definitive threat to both the UK economy and to hard won-women’s rights. In these uncertain times, the work of the Women’s Budget Group is more important than ever. We have to continue to make the case for gender equality not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it will result in a more sustainable and resilient economy.

Over the past 12 months we again delivered our hard-hitting analysis of UK Budgets, producing briefings on the gender impact of policy in fifteen different areas. In March we released our report on the economic impact of Brexit, warning that lost jobs, cuts to services and a squeeze on family budgets will hit women hard. This was followed by an in-depth report on the catastrophic roll-out of Universal Credit, and a wide-reaching report on the causes and consequences ofwomen’s poverty. Most recently, we launched our report onfunding for the women’s sector, identifying areas of tension and opportunity for organisations delivering vital, specialist services for women.

We’ve submitted evidence to a number of key government consultations, and earlier this month hosted the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights at a meeting to discuss the findings of his report on the disproportionate impact of austerity on women. Our guest blog series has gone from strength to strength, with contributors tackling a range of topics, from discrimination within the banking system and older women’s economic empowerment to the steady disappearance of our social infrastructure.

Our AGM this year doubled as a launch event for Women Count, a free gender responsive budgeting casebook for civil society groups interested in implementing GRB practices in their own contexts. This is available both in print and online, and we’ve delivered training on the casebook in a number of international locations. We also launched the WBG Early Career Network, aimed at fostering the next generation of feminist economists and researchers across the country.

All in all, we’ve had a fairly busy year, but there’s still so much to do. Our analysis regularly exposes how UK public policy is failing women, and this year, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty went so far as to describe Britain’s welfare system as so sexist it may as well have been compiled by “a group of misogynists in a room”! Our work is certainly cut out for us, and this is why we’re particularly excited to have secured funding to set up a Commission aimed at producing policy proposals for a gender equal economy. Stay tuned for more on this in 2019!

That’s all for now, we’ll be back in the New Year refreshed and ready to continue the fight for gender equality. A big thank you to all our members for their labour and ongoing support. Have a restful Christmas and New Year if you can.

The WBG team x

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