UPDATE: Fawcett have posted a podcast of the full hustings event.
Harriet Harman has committed future Labour governments to publish information on how the Budget will affect women.
At Fawcett’s hustings this week with the most senior woman from the main three parties, Harman said:
The Equality Act will require Government to do a gender audit of its decisions, so that you can see the differential impact on men and women of decisions about public spending and that gender audit about the decision will then obviously be public.
The Fawcett Society is now pushing for the Conservatives and Lib Dems to make the same promise.
Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, explains succinctly why this is important – the government is already carrying out a gender impact assessment, but without publishing it!
Although there is already a legal duty to conduct an assessment of how spending plans affect women, there is no duty to publish it. This underhand economics is simply being dishonest with voters. Women are a larger proportion of the public sector workforce and use more public services more regularly. Cuts in public spending are going to hit women hardest and this should be explained. I welcome Labour’s commitment to do this and challenge the other parties to do the same. The last leaders’ debate tomorrow, focuses on the economy, the parties grandees have the perfect opportunity to commit to publishing this vital information for over half of voters.
Photo of the Gladstone Box shared on Flickr by National Archives, click through for copyright info