Mary McIntosh discusses Women's Budget Group



Mary McIntosh played a crucial part in arguing in favour of the fifth feminist demand for legal and financial independence for women. Here she talks about the Women’s Budget Group, an organisation set up to promote gender equality through appropriate economic policy and the need for government to address gender issues before making policy changes.

You can find out more about the WLM demands in Activism and Who We Were, Who We Are.

Why do you think a gender assessment could be important before making policy decisions on issues such as pay or benefits?

Do you think that women and men have different economic relationships with the state as workers, citizens or parents?

What feminist politicians do you know? What do you know about the way in which they work politically, their aims and ideals? Do you think these relate to them being women?



In later life when I moved back to London especially, I became involved in the Women’s Budget Group, which is very much about changing the law in relation to employment in particular, but tax law as well, and sort of mainstreaming within the Treasury and mainstreaming within different departments of feminist issues and I mean the Fawcett Society is now I think at the moment taking the Treasury to court because they recommended budget cuts without doing a gender assessment and the person who ran Fawcett for a long time had been a member of the Women’s Budget Group and that was one of the things that we’d campaigned for, successfully, was that they should do a gender assessment before they made a political decision. I have become involved in legal changes and I am a bit doubtful about how effective they are, but I do think that the notion of mainstreaming is probably quite an important one and that gender issues and issues of age and disability and race should be part of everybody’s thinking about political changes that take place. I think that is probably the way things are happening now, particularly in the Labour Party, that there’s more attention to those issues. But I think it can sometimes be quite, oh what’s the word, pragmatic, kind of, you know, they use that issue if it suits them and they don’t if it doesn’t suit them politically. They’re much more interested in Labour versus Conservative than in any of those issues about principle, I think.
Mary McIntosh discusses Women's Budget Group
22 November - December 2010
Sound recording
Sisterhood and After: The Women's Liberation Oral History Project
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