A Citizen’s Basic Income would directly address gender inequality

From time to time, reports from the financial sector highlight the fact that women are less able to shore up savings than men. (This is true, though the framing is often problematic, with the spotlight directed at women themselves. Yes, there is a savings gap, but there is nothing surprising about it.) One of these was highlighted in a recent piece on debt and Citizen’s Basic Income (CBI) from our colleagues at Basic Income Earth Network.

It points to the building need for a CBI, in light of increasingly precarious paid work, such as zero hours contracts, and cuts to public sector pay and services. This ongoing stranglehold on resources and conditions primarily affects women, and is occurring against a gendered backdrop that already sees women in Scotland earn £175 less per week on average than men. Women are twice as dependent on social security, are two thirds of those in paid work living in poverty and have significantly less access to assets and occupational pensions than men do. Women are also still more likely to manage household budgeting and to spend their independent income on household needs.

Gender inequality is therefore one form of social injustice that could be effectively tackled with a CBI. This wouldn’t be a panacea, but a huge step in the right direction regarding crucial issues for women’s wellbeing and security. Foremost amongst these are the social and political value of unpaid care work and financial autonomy. Given that many of the worst impacts of austerity, regressive social security policies and exploitative labour market conditions are still to come, the need to build a movement for a Citizen’s Basic Income in Scotland is urgent.

On the 28th January we are staging an event in Fife about the proposed Basic Income pilot. We are delighted to have Professor Karl Widerquist as our keynote speaker. Professor Widerquest is one of the worlds leading advocates for basic income and co-chair of Basic Income Earth Network, a network of Basic Income organisations across the globe.

There will be contributions from Paul Vaughn Head of Community and Corporate Development at Fife Council, Willie Sullivan Chair of CBINS and Convenor of Common Weal, Maddie Halliday, Basic Income advocate and Treasurer of CBINS, with more speakers to be confirmed.

With lots of opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the transformative idea of a Basic Income for everyone this event will lay out the work to date to create a Basic Income pilot here in Scotland and provide a template for others to follow across the nation.

  • Jill Wood, Engender, and CBINS Trustee

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Follow Engender Scotland @EngenderScot and read their recent report recommending Basic Income.

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