28 FEBRUARY 2014

The Fawcett Society are conducting an independent inquiry with Oxfam and the Women’s Budget Group as part of an on-going programme of work examining and addressing the impacts of the government’s austerity agenda on women. 

The inquiry focuses on how recent changes to conditionality for Jobseeker’s Allowance, defined as the conditions that must be met to qualify for the benefit, and how the sanctions that are applied when these conditions are not met are impacting on women.

The inquiry will comprise a panel of respected public figures, to be announced shortly, with an array of expertise and interest in the field of public policy and equality who will review evidence from a wide range of independent sources. As a result of this investigation the panel will make a set of findings and, where relevant, recommendations to address how any disproportionate impacts on women could be reformed or ameliorated such so that they no longer undermine equality between women and men.

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The Fawcett Society released a report following this inquiry in September 2015, which finding that the Job Seeker's Allowance regime takes insufficient account of the distinctive circumstances of many women’s lives, in particular their higher risk of getting stuck in low-paid jobs, the impact of their caring responsibilities and the fact that they are much more likely than men to be at risk of domestic and sexual violence. 

Other findings show that those features of the Job Seeker's Allowance system that are intended to take account of these circumstances are not working well and many women are vulnerable to sanctions through failure to comply with the requirements included in Claimant Commitments and Jobseeker’s Agreements. 

Our recommendations including changes to the design and implementation of the system and a call for additional research into the effects of sanctions.

See the full report: Where's The Benefit?

Read more about Fawcett's work to ensure women are not hit hardest by economic downturn