Women’s Budget Group report: The Female Face of Poverty

Poverty is gendered. Women in the UK are slightly more likely to live in poverty than men when this is measured on the usual household basis (21% of adult women, compared to 19% of adult men in 2016-17).

This is from the July 2018 report (pdf) from the Women’s Budget Group  on the causes of poverty among women and the consequences that poverty has on women’s lives.

This report is produced by the Women’s Budget Group on behalf of the Coventry Women’s Partnership, a collaboration between WBG and five women’s organisations in Coventry.

The report finds:

  • Women’s employment rate (age 16-64) is at an all-time high in the UK, at 71%, but women make up 60% of employees on low pay and 73% of part-time workers
  • With the new Universal Credit system, cuts in work allowances, taper rates and the single monthly payment particularly hit women by reducing work incentives for some second earners and potentially increasing women’s vulnerability to poverty and financial abuse
  • Poverty may exacerbate domestic abuse and violence by increasing or prolonging women’s exposure to it and by reducing their ability to flee
  • Cuts to public services are leaving many people with unmet care needs, particularly older women, who tend to live longer and more often on their own, and so tend to have greater caring needs than older men.

The report recommends:

  • Barriers to employment should be tackled by investment in childcare and adult social care, public transport and flexible and adaptable jobs
  •  Benefits should be designed to ensure that every individual within a household has access to a fair income
  • In addition to collecting data at the household level, statistical authorities (including the ONS and DWP) should collect and publish income data at the individual level
  • Specialist local women’s organisations should be adequately funded to ensure that all women have access to relevant support.

Read the full report (pdf).