Students join Mothers March
QMessenger 21 Feb-6 Mar
Queen Mary Students' Union
On Saturday 12th March 2011 women, men and children will assemble in London to demonstrate against the coalition cuts to welfare and advocate for adequate financial support for mothers working in the home.
This call comes as mothers are denied access to income support and forced onto jobseekers allowance to push them into other employment, despite the essential work of caring for their children. Although we must work against the oppressive gender stereotype that depicts all women as maternal, and patronises men as incapable of caring for their children; we need recognise that it is predominately women who “stay at home” and the Government must acknowledge this as a full time role deserving support.
Whilst our Government has already spent thousands of pounds on war and destruction, they dismiss the financial implications of feeding, housing, educating and generally rearing children.
The rich, white, men who ‘represent’ us in Parliament clearly do not understand the realities of many families. They do not address that women are the predominant users of public services, more likely to live in poverty and also be lone carers. As one woman has commented on the globalwomenstrike.net; “My daughter has a life threatening disability. If I am forced out to work and there’s no one to look after her, we are heading for disaster”.
It is also laughable that these schemes come as unemployment dramatically rises and huge redundancy numbers are announced. In actuality, many job losses are part time positions – mostly filled by women and in particular, mothers; some of whom are not able to hold full time jobs at work and at home. Even if she may survive the job cuts, Britain has one of the highest pay gaps in the EU – which the ConDem cronies have failed to repair in demanding all women work. It seems women cannot win. As UNISON has noted; 65% of public sector workers are women and mothers (77% of the NHS), which does not bode well in consideration of almost 500,000 job cuts in the public sector by 2015.
The attack on housing benefits will also add to the inevitable increase in child poverty and homelessness; due to a sharp rise in rent and a tightening on housing support (particularly in London). This all baffles when remembering the selling point of the Conservatives as a so-called ‘family’ party. Who can forget the campaigning poster of; “I’ve never voted Tory before, but I like their plans to help families”. I suspect the mothers on the march will say otherwise.
But this empowering Mothers March deserves student backing. The protest also rallies against cuts to education. We recently saw the obliteration of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) which thousands of students in Tower Hamlets alone, rely on. Not receiving the minimum EMA of £10 a week totals as hundreds per year. Students also have to fork out for books, stationary and clothes/uniforms. This places a further financial strain on parents as well as jeopardising the poorest child’s future in education. Equally they will be fighting against the rise in tuition fees and the coalition’s ambition to ensure that only the richest can afford access to basic rights such as healthcare and education.
To create a successful movement against the draconian coalition, students must unite with other workers being punished for a crisis they did not cause. Whilst the Mothers March acknowledges the appalling attack on education; we in turn must not accept the threats against the welfare of mothers and children who are already underrepresented.
So let’s unite and resist the cuts which will target the poorest communities and families, resist the slashing of EMA, resist the obvious agenda of the Conservatives to destroy the welfare state, resist the treachery of Clegg and his self portrayal as messiah of education and resist the silencing of protestors through kettling and police intimidation.
Cameron, Clegg; your mothers would be ashamed of you.
Assemble 12 noon Trafalgar Square (North Side)
International Women’s Week & Mothering Sunday: MOTHERS MARCH
Co-ordinator of Global Women's Strike
Quoted in NY Times Op-Ed: Pay People to Cook at Home!
In the Guardian: From welfare to wages, women fight back against the uncaring market
Listen to speak in Ireland: "How can women defeat austerity?"
Other countries we work with (so far...)
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UK Fri 17th May 13
Letter to The Guardian reporting on launch of petition 'Invest in a caring society. A living wage for mothers and other carers.'UK Thu 16th May 13
Messages of support to launch of petition Invest in a caring society. A living wage for mothers and other carers.UK Thu 16th May 13
Mon 13th May 13
USA Sat 11th May 13