Minority Women and Politics of Austerity in France and the United Kingdom

A guest blog by Akwugo Emejulu, University of Edinburgh and Leah Bassel, University of Leicester, in which they argue that in order to counter the asymmetrical effects of the current economic crisis, intersectional analyses and coalition building are required. They consider how researchers might capture the effects of austerity on representations of minority women’s vulnerability as well as their activism. They do so by drawing on their current empirical project, ‘Minority Women’s Activism in Tough Times’, which explores the impact of the crisis on minority women in Scotland, England and France.

 

At the time of writing, the UK is undergoing the most extensive reduction and restructuring of its welfare state since its enactment after the Second World War (Taylor-Gooby and Stoeker 2010; Yeates et al 2011). The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government is presiding over a 27% cut to local government—the key mechanism for delivery of public services—and a 68% cut to the social housing budget (Taylor-Gooby 2011: 4). Whilst France was not implementing as stringent measures until the January 2014 budget was announced, a key policy aim of the Socialist government is austerity (Clift 2013). The headline of President François Hollande’s 2013 budget, which he described as ‘the biggest budget shock of the past 30 years’ (Guélaud 2012), was a commitment to cutting the deficit to 3% of GDP in 2013 (L’Express 2012). However, the beleaguered Socialist government missed this budget target (BBC 12 March 2013).

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