| 15.7°C Dublin

Mums need a Budget that won't give us any more sleepless nights

Do you know what 'running away money' is?

It's a little stash of cash that women supposedly kept to themselves in case things didn't turn out quite the way they thought they would.

A few bob that he knew nothing about.

And in case of an emergency, in case you had to leave, well you had a few quid to keep you going until you sorted everything out.

Today, most women don't have running away money.

Not because everything worked out the way they hoped. They simply haven't got a few quid to spare to put by.


An ESRI study last week found that women have been hardest hit by the recession.

Women in couples have fared worse, suffering, on average, a 14pc drop, due partly to a 25pc cut to child benefit, which is usually received by mothers.

Men in couples, in comparison, saw a 9pc drop.

The ESRI report also found that women were hit harder by adjustments to tax, welfare and public sector pay, because a higher proportion of women work in the public service and are more likely to be in receipt of a carer's allowance.

And that is why women matter most when it comes to next Tuesday's budget.

But listen carefully to the media noise.

It's all property initiatives, tax bands and tax cuts.

No one in Government is talking about initiatives specifically for women.

There isn't a mention of the crippling cost of childcare. The National Women's Council says the shortage of affordable, accessible childcare severely limits women's participation in the workplace.

The Association of Improved Maternity Services says Budget 2015 continues to ignore patient safety and appropriate care options, saying appropriate maternity care could save the exchequer €18.6m a year.

It sometimes seems that the Government has women in a couple of neat boxes.

They're either lone parents scrounging off social welfare or the Mums who are too well off; there's seems to be no in-between.


That's why women often feel that decisions are made around them and about them and that they themselves are completely overlooked.

That their lives are less about choice and more about gender and socio-economic destinies determined by a cabinet with just four women at the table.

It's a game of family fortunes next week.

And women, who crunch the numbers and work out their own family budget, would like a Budget 2015 that protects them and keeps their health, their families, their futures and their finances in mind.

In other words, a budget that won't leave them sleepless next Tuesday night.