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Women can take back control of this disastrous Brexit

by Rachel Franklin | 03.09.2018

Women’s voices need to be heard as the country makes a decision which will affect us all for generations to come. That’s why we’re launching the Women for a People’s Vote campaign today – demanding the public, and especially the 51% who are women, get a say on whatever Brexit emerges from Theresa May’s mess.

Brexit may be unfolding under a female prime minister but she is failing to represent the 58% of women that want a People’s Vote on the final deal.

From the NHS and wages, to household budgets and education – all are threatened by a Brexit which is being negotiated and planned by an overwhelmingly male group of politicians and civil servants. Four of the five ministers at the Department for Exiting the EU are men, with only one, junior, female minster. What’s more, the UK negotiating team for Brexit is only 11% female.

A rotten Brexit deal – or worse, no deal at all – could also overturn hard-won freedoms and rights, which a generation of UK women rely upon. Hardline Brextremists are dying to strip back equal pay legislation, anti-harassment laws, anti-discrimination legislation and other social rights under the cover of a “bonfire” of EU red tape.

So while the ins and outs of the arguments between the Great Men of Brexit might be great fun for the newspapers, their inability to compromise or empathise is incredibly serious for women.  

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The Royal College of Nursing, who are hosting our launch event this morning, and the Royal College of Midwives have both warned that a Brexit deal which threatens the rights of EU nurses and midwives to work in the UK could have a massive impact on the NHS.

And the British Medical Association has described Brexit as a “disastrous act of national self-harm.”

Of course we all use the NHS but in many families it is still disproportionately women who are carers to both older and younger generations; the ones who take on the job of taking the kids to the GPs surgery or who rely most on the nurses and midwives will be most affected by a poor Brexit deal.

Then there is the cost of living. Brexit is hitting women’s pockets already, and the trend is only set to get worse. Inflation is rising faster and wage growth has slowed since the Brexit vote. That hits women, who already earn nearly 10% less than men, disproportionately harder.

Brexit means that the average woman’s pay will be 65p an hour lower than it would have been otherwise, which translates to about £1,250 a year for those who work full time. And while wages squeeze at one end, prices are rising at the other.

These may be small sums to men like Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose country estate and city investment fund will insulate him from the the Brexit slowdown he is so cheerfully inflicting on the rest of us, but to worried mums and working women throughout the UK it is yet another blow.

But this does not have to be a done deal. By supporting a People’s Vote on the final deal women can take back control of the agenda and ensure that a largely male driven process doesn’t leave them high and dry.

Sign up to the Women for a People’s Vote campaign here. You can also find the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

One Response to “Women can take back control of this disastrous Brexit”

  • In the first year after the referendum I kept a careful note of increased prices and worked out that we paid over £1500 more in that year than we would have before said referendum. This was as a direct result of the vote and before we have left the EU.

    I gave up price watching after that, it was too depressing. But serves as a lesson that we will all be paying more than we think after coming out of the EU.

    My best wishes for your struggle.