Action Plan to combat the crisis

We propose the following as key components of an action plan to combat the crisis:

  • Gender equality in social protection and the guarantee of fundamental rights

Now, more than ever, family networks have less capacity to respond financially, making essential the social protection of those most in need, of whom women are the vast majority.

With regard to a foreseeable increase in gender-based violence, particularly male violence against women, it is essential to guarantee the physical safety of all, community safety, and the right to a life free from violence. To achieve this requires:

Special benefits for single-parent families;

Increase in guaranteed basic income and non-contributory pensions up to the level of guaranteed national minimum wage

Provision of resources to services for victims of gender-based violence, including sufficient financial support; and the introduction of special measures for immigrant women;

Increase in resources for the prevention and punishment of gender-based violence, sexual assault and other male violence against women.

  • Integrated Public Service Plan

Instead of directing public spending plans to construction projects without strategic priority, there is opportunity to address an historical deficit. Investment in public service infrastructure presents a key opportunity to reorient investment in the construction industry in more efficient ways, to reduce unemployment in other sectors and address social needs.

Lastly, this would be a profitable investment in the medium term to long-term which, moreover, promotes a more socially just gender regime. In particular this requires:

Universal access to public early-years education and public childcare from 0 years onwards;

Universal access to public services of care for physically dependent persons;

Extension of resources for education, and public health, with a particular focus on free provision of services and on gender equality.

  • Reform of tax and benefit systems to promote a society of individual earner/carer persons

Society has changed, and women have accessed the labour market in huge numbers, yet public policies continue to promote gender-based, stereotypical roles. It is essential to develop co-responsibility for childcare/joint parenting, and to eliminate disincentives for women’s paid work. This requires:

Elimination of all care allowances currently incompatible with paid work;

Reform of parental leave provisions so that each parent has equal, non-transferable and fully paid leave rights;

Removal of joint contributions to the personal income tax systems;

Removal of measures to increase part-time working;

Measures to rationalise working hours, including: reduction of maximum working hours/working week; elimination of all incentives to long working days.

  • At the global level, ensure gender equality in international relations

It is essential to cut short uncontrolled financial speculation, over-exploitation, poverty, and violence globally. For this to happen, the rules of economic globalization have to change, along with international relations, and the activities of international finance institutions and development co-operation bodies. In this move towards socially and economically sustainable global development, women’s liberation in every country is essential. Gender equality is a key element in making this other work possible, in which so many progressive individuals believe.

In particular:

Debt relief for all those countries who make substantive commitments to gender equality, and preservation of the environment.

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