Brexit: The economic impact is particularly bad for women?

The economic impact of Brexit has been and continues to be much debated. But now that the prospects for a tough Brexit are becoming more and more realistic, experts are wondering: are the supporters of these women particularly hard?

Let's start with a caveat: we still do not know what Brexit will look like, or what kind of trade agreement the British are negotiating with the EU. Therefore, it is also difficult to accurately predict the impact of a UK exit from the EU on workers with or without social benefits. Nevertheless, it is indisputable that trade agreements can have different effects on men and women, depending on their economic status, family responsibilities or power.

"Women are particularly sensitive to changes in trade agreements, whether it is liberalization or trade restrictions," said Mary-Ann Stephenson, director of the Women's Budget Group of the United Kingdom. , a justice NGO for women. "They are not as mobile as men and earn less money," said the author of a study on the economic impact of Brexit on women.

Benefits Issue

According to the study, if the UK suffered a severe shock, unemployment would become inevitable, especially in sectors that depend on EU trade. This includes in particular the garment and textile industry, where the vast majority of the workforce is female.

The same goes for health and health care – women also work mainly in these sectors. The UK health system is already facing the fact that a large number of skilled workers from other EU countries have left the UK again, worried about their uncertain future after Brexit. Experts fear that this trend is further aggravated.

In fact, public welfare is an area where the effects of Brexit can be the hardest hit by women. All forecasts for the period immediately following Brexit call for a collapse of Britain's gross national product. This will likely result in further reductions in benefits. And this is especially true for those most dependent on government support, especially women. "Women are disproportionately represented in the social professions and disproportionately benefit from many social benefits: for themselves, but also for the family members for whom they are responsible," said Stephenson. These include, for example, family allowances or subsidies to care for older family members. "Women are therefore also the ones who have to work longer without pay when benefits are reduced, and in the face of a worsening health care crisis, it is mostly women who have to reduce hours of work or work. To look after their children or their parents in addition to their full-time job. "

Workplace safety issue

At the present time, UK labor law, which recognizes gender equality and occupational safety and health in the UK, is still covered by European legislation. Although it is highly unlikely that these rights will disappear overnight if Britain leaves the EU. "But the EU guarantees that no UK government can restrict these rights," Stephenson said. This guarantee would be omitted in a Brexit. "The Brexit hard-liners are strong advocates of labor rights, particularly maternity protection, parental leave and part-time work, areas in which women have benefited for years from the accession of the labor market. Britain to the EU. "

Lucy Harris, who sits in the European Parliament at Brexit Party Nigel Farage, sees things very differently. The Brexit will allow Britain to enact new, more advanced laws for women, confirmed the Leavers of Britain director. "I voted in favor of Brexit because I believe the laws should be adapted to those who are directly affected by them," she told "If we recover our sovereignty, it will allow us to make choices that strengthen our rights." However, nothing would stand in the way of the European regulations in force.

Planless in Brexit?

Joanna Williams works for Briefings for Brexit, an internet platform for business people and academics who are calling for a UK exit from the EU. He denies any negative impact on the UK economy. Instead, she points out that wages and employment rates have risen since the referendum, including for women. "We can all design black and horror scenarios, but reality speaks a different language," she said in a conversation with Mary-Ann Stephenson however said: "Three years later, it is becoming increasingly clear that those who want to leave the EU do not have a plan," she said. "Most of them show an incredible ignorance about the very functioning of the basic principles of trade agreements, which is pretty scary, I can not understand how to ignore these likely effects."

Author: Robert Mudge (tl)