Northern Ireland

Recession threatening to turn back time for women

The recession, proposed welfare reforms and cuts in public spending threaten to reverse equality in the workplace, a report has found.

It said that many woman in Northern Ireland are being driven back into the home.

Lynn Carvill of the Women's Resource and Development Agency (WRDA) said NI was "returning to the 1950's when a woman's place was in the home".

"Women are less well positioned than men to weather the crisis," she said.

"Women have never been in the same economic position as men.

"Unfortunately government responses to the crisis mean we are in danger of turning the clock back in terms of women's equal economic participation. The proposed welfare reforms will remove women's economic autonomy."

The WRDA commissioned the report, the Northern Ireland Economy: Women on the Edge, and it was funded by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister.

The report looks at the position of women who would be deemed as particularly vulnerable at this time, particularly older women, lone parents, migrant women and younger women.

It said the new system of universal credit, coming into effect in 2013, will mean there is less incentive for women to work and make them more dependent on men.

It states: "Women's rights and entitlements are being stripped away and an out-dated 'male bread-winner, dependent female carer' model is being imposed instead.

"The new universal credit will not provide individualised benefits, safeguard personal access to welfare support for women in couples or advance women's economic independence."