Gender & Recession / by Nick Ierodiaconou

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/jan/18/women-credit-crunch-ruth-sunderland Looking beyond the "gender debate" in this article, there is an interesting element to be understood in terms of the impact of  job losses in the female workforce : the socio-economic affect on the family household, single parent families, spending patterns mentioned in the article.

"In previous recessions, such as the 1980s downturn in the UK, women provided a backstop against male job loss because the sectors in which they typically worked, such as retail, catering and services, were not badly affected, but this time around it is precisely those areas of the economy that are in the front line."

"Professor Marilyn Davidson of Manchester Business School agrees. "This impact on women is a very new phenomenon that we haven't faced in this country before. We have far more women in work, far more one-parent families, and far more female breadwinners....The figures suggest that more female managers have been made redundant than male, and that the credit crunch is having an impact on young women leaving university. The predictions are for a sharp drop in recruitment and service industries will be hard hit, which will harm female graduates most."

Considering the post recession landscape, what are the likely impacts for the future and what vehicles can be built to avoid the inevitable negative social impacts of a female workforce "retired early" in their careers.

"Experts also warn that the financial crisis may have a second wave effect on female pension provision, condemning more older women to poverty. Insurance group Scottish Widows reckons that the "pensions gender gap", with only 46% of women preparing adequately for retirement, compared with 55% of men, is significant; that could widen if more lose their retirement provision along with their jobs. As Ros Altmann says: "There is already large inequality between men's and women's pensions and this will exacerbate it.""

Is there an opportunity within neighbourhoods to utilise the vacuum of time and effort vacated by job loss, and positively use the skills that do exist, complementing them with further skills to firstly prepare a workforce for the future but also to contribute to what that work should be.

AF