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January 23, 2024 | Laura Murphy

I’m not shocked but I should be

A million more people are living in poverty compared to a year ago.  So why aren't we shocked?

It’s a stark statistic:  a million more people are living in poverty compared to a year ago.  According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) analysis,  14.4m people were in poverty including 4.2m children.  In what they describe as ‘social failure at scale’, 6m are living in very deep poverty.

Deep poverty is defined as being below 40% of the medium income after housing costs.  So if you are a couple with two children under 14 and your income is below £14,600 that’s you.  For a lone parent, and that’s usually a woman, if you have two children, one over 14 and one under 14, and you earn less than £18,800 you’re in deep poverty.

This analysis is supported by the latest data from the CAB showing that 200,000 people across the UK had come to them for crisis support asking for referrals to a food bank or emergency funds.  Triple the number in 2019.

These figures are compounded by a report last year from the Women’s Budget Group that said that a single woman, on an average salary for women (which we know is lower than an average salary for men) cannot afford to buy their own property, and were finding it increasingly difficult to rent.

As I said above, I’m not shocked.  But I should be.

And that’s what we have to guard against.  The ‘normalising’ of horror stories such as these.  By normalising it we start to think that first of all we can’t do anything about it, and secondly that it’s OK.  Because it’s not OK.

We can’t waive the magic wand here at WayfinderWoman but we can help women build their confidence to challenge the status quo.  We can help them discover the questions they should be asking, and of whom they should be asking those questions.  We can help you build the strength to stand up for yourselves and your rights.

So, rather than turning the page and saying it’s shocking and not doing anything, come and talk to us.  Talk to us if you need help.  Come and talk to us if you can offer help.  Between us we can build a better society and make life easier for women – and by extension easier for everyone.

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