By Elly Mawson, 2013 G(irls)20 Summit Delegate, Representing the United Kingdom
I am Elly Mawson, a self-employed childminder in the North East of England. Through my experiences, I have identified a current barrier that women encounter in terms of economic stability. The economic challenge facing women is not understanding the vocabulary or mathematical equations used when economic and financial matters are being discussed.
A prime example of this challenge is when a woman goes back to work after having a baby and pays for childcare using childcare vouchers. What is often unknown is that by using vouchers it will reduce the maternity pay for her second child. This kind of information is not well explained to pregnant and new mothers, leaving many women in a financially vulnerable situation.
Recently, through the changes in the United Kingdom's benefit system, there have been blatant examples of vocabulary being insufficiently explained. Phrases such as "economically inactive" and "welfare reform" are commonly used and not adequately explained. There is also not enough detail given to women about how taking a pay rise may mean you are taxed more and therefore lose some of the entitlement you currently have.
As of March 20, 21.1 per cent of women aged between 18 and 24 and 9.8 per cent of women of all ages are unemployed in my area. As a nation we are told that we must all find jobs and stop fraudulently claiming. However, there is very little support offered to women on which route may be best for them to take and on how changes to legislation will affect them. The news items explain how badly affected young women will be, but do not advice on where to get help -- if there is any. The vocabulary used in informative reports is not introduced to women at a young age. It is therefore not a part of day to day conversation amongst peers. If someone does not understand what they are supposed to do, then it is difficult for them to find the right help.
To help solve this I am giving women who attend the same Mother and Baby/Play Groups as I, an information sheet on the legislation which may affect them and where they can seek help. I am also campaigning in local schools to introduce this vocabulary and knowledge in PSHCE (Citizenship) and Child Development lessons.
I intend to ensure my cause is heard. Loud and clear.
Elly Mawson, 2013 G(irls)20 Summit Delegate, represented Australia at the 2013 G(irls)20 Summit, June 15 - 19 in Moscow, Russia. Visit www.girls20summit.com to watch the G(irls)20 Summit.