Response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s new report

Speaking in response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s new report, Joe Levenson, Director of Communications and Campaigns at Young Women’s Trust said: 

“Many young women were already struggling to get by before the coronavirus crisis hit and our research has found that since then over 1.5 million have suffered a loss of income due to redundancy, furlough or juggling insecure work with caring responsibilities. We’ve even heard from many young women who are skipping meals to make ends meet and in the last year 69% of young women claiming benefits did so for the first time.

Yet despite the devastating economic impact, women have been neither seen nor heard by government during the pandemic, which is why today’s powerful report from the Women and Equalities Committee is so important. We are pleased to see the Committee refer to the evidence we submitted and that a range of recommendations we made are reflected in the committee’s report. We especially welcome the recommendation that the equality impact of every government policy is actively assessed, as only this level of scrutiny will protect young women as we move into recovery from the pandemic. It’s also essential that employers act fairly, so it’s imperative that the government takes additional measures such as reinstating gender pay gap reporting and ensuring employers report on who they are making redundant.

If the Government is serious about levelling up and ensuring that no young woman is left behind, then this report from the Women and Equalities Committee needs to become required reading across Whitehall and beyond. The Government should enact its recommendations as a priority and to the timescale set out in the report. Measures such as retaining the £20-a-week uplift of Universal Credit and extending this to Carer’s Allowance would make tangible impact on the lives of young women. Crucially, the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis cannot ignore the voices of diverse young women on the economic and wider impacts on their lives.”

Note to Editors

  1. Young Women’s Trust is a feminist organisation working to achieve economic justice for young women.
  2. Picking up the pieces: Young women’s experiences of 2020 was published on the Young Women’s Trust website at 0001 Tuesday 24 November 2020.