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Scarlet Harris

Scarlet Harris

Scarlet it the TUC’s Women’s Equality Officer, based in the Equality and Employment Rights Department. She joined the TUC in 2009 and works on policy issues such as maternity rights; representation of women in unions; occupational segregation; women in the labour market; equal pay; sex discrimination and family policy.

  • It’s no secret that we all seem to gather more and more caring responsibilities as we go along. Nor is it any great secret that women tend to accumulate more caring responsibilities than men. Grandparents Plus and others have rightly highlighted the growing importance of grandparents caring for children as the cost of formal childcare spirals out of reach for many families. When I recently surveyed union members aged 50 +about juggling caring responsibilities and work, I was expecting a high proportion of respondents to cite grandparenting duties as one of the main caring responsibilities. Indeed, some 60% of those questioned reported that they look after a family member or friend as well as going to work. Perhaps unsurprisingly the majority of those who had caring responsibilities (50%) were caring for a parent. What surprised me more was that the next largest group being cared for by respondents was children, rather than grandchildren.

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    Posted on November 6th, 2013 by Scarlet Harris filed under: Blog

  • Figures gathered by the Labour Party’s Commission on Older Women have substantiated something that we all know already: Women over 50 are a rare sight on our TV screens. We all know this already because we can see with our own eyes that these women are all but invisible every time we switch on the news.

    Apparently there is some received wisdom that men gain gravitas as they age. They become “silver foxes” or “authoritative”. Women on the other hand simply become invisible. Grey haired women are not silver foxes. Apparently they’re an embarrassment to be excised from our screens lest they offend viewers and remind us that women are not simply decorative objects whose worth is measured in terms of youth and attractiveness.

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    Posted on May 16th, 2013 by Scarlet Harris filed under: Blog

  • After many years of seemingly being invisible to the media and policy makers, it’s good to see the recent flurry of interest in the issues facing older women in society. Just in the last few months we’ve seen the TUC’s Age Immaterial campaign, the Labour Party’s Commission on Older Women, labour market analysis from IPPR and the Resolution Foundation, and a range of reports and initiatives from voluntary sector organisations with an interest in older women.

    As Camilla Palmer explains in her blog post, Miriam O’Reilly’s landmark tribunal victory against the BBC highlighted the way in which ageism and sexism combine to create a double whammy of discrimination against older women at work and in public life.

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    Posted on March 27th, 2013 by Scarlet Harris filed under: Blog