Thoughts and reports on inequality, from disability to gender


Falinge estate in Rochdale. Photo: Getty
Benefits cuts: what is life like on the breadline, one year on?
By Frances Ryan - 01 April 8:24

“I don’t buy into the idea that being on benefits is a lifestyle choice,” says one claimant. “I’d much prefer to be in my old £38k job, with a life of hope ahead of me, instead of worrying about how to make half a loaf of bread an onion and half a bottle of ketchup into an evening meal.”

A job centre plus. Photo: Getty
Immoral or incompetent? With the DWP, it’s no longer a choice
By Frances Ryan - 05 March 9:42

What do they think happens when you cut off someone’s source of food, rent and heating for three months?

While waiting for their claim to be decided, people are losing out on support
Personal Independence Payments: a failing system is trapping disabled people without benefits
By Frances Ryan - 17 February 13:34

Since the new Personal Independence Payments began to replace Disability Living Allowance, fewer than one in six people who applied have had their claims decided. While assessments drag out over months, bills still have to be paid and food still has to be bought.

The Big Benefits Row: Was it ever going to change anyone's mind?
By Frances Ryan - 04 February 11:04

Perhaps if Channel 5's dramatic “debate” about benefits had given less time to attention-seekers like Edwina Currie and Katie Hopkins, it would have been a better conversation about an important issue.

Campaigns against sex-selective abortion are misogyny disguised as feminism
By Frances Ryan - 16 January 15:17

We should be asking why women feel pressured to abort female foetuses, not descending into an anti-choice panic about sex-selective abortion without evidence.

If we spent less time thinking about breasts, we could probably end sexism
Why having a woman’s body under patriarchy is a job in itself
By Frances Ryan - 10 January 15:50

"Deodorant for breasts" is the latest addition to the shame cycle of having a female body.

Anti-abortionists need to recognise the lived experiences of women and the disabled
By Frances Ryan - 29 December 10:33

Right-wing commentators keep arguing for a tighter abortion law in the UK, ignoring the voices of those who would have to live with the consequences.

A South Wales Police anti-rape campaign.
Why do police so often get it wrong with anti-rape campaigns?
By Frances Ryan - 13 December 17:28

Police forces still seem to find it difficult to say that rape might be the fault of the men who decide to rape.

5 benefit changes the government don't want you to know about
By Frances Ryan - 29 November 11:43

Threats to take away children from families is a new low for the coalition government's war on benefit claimants.

John Major is right - in education, money still buys a better chance of success
By Frances Ryan - 11 November 14:51

Britain has a clear and shameful lack of social mobility, and private, fee-paying schools are symbolic of the wider link between how much money your parents have and how much opportunity you’re given.

New Statesman
No, Terry Wogan, women don't "use their good looks" to get jobs in television
By Frances Ryan - 04 November 15:29

There seems to be an epidemic in television of middle-aged to elderly men thinking that they have important thoughts on women on television and that those thoughts aren’t the rantings of a sexist berk.

New Statesman
What will happen when the High Court sees the human face of the benefit cap?
By Frances Ryan - 29 October 14:47

The benefit cap is another Coalition policy that, advertised as creating fairness, targets the most vulnerable. These families illustrate the living truth behind the Coalition's rhetoric.

How deaf women are vulnerable to domestic abuse: the tragic story of Safiya
By Frances Ryan - 22 October 15:52

Deaf women are twice as likely as hearing women to experience domestic abuse. A disability, such as deafness, makes victims more vulnerable to abuse, and the same disability leaves them more vulnerable to not ever being able to escape it.

New Statesman
On Benefits and Proud: The show where 'deserving taxpayers' stalk 'proud benefit claimants'
By Frances Ryan - 15 October 15:09

Channel Five has plumbed the depths of human decency with its latest scapegoating programme.

New Statesman
The wrong people are feeling shame for Britain's poverty
By Frances Ryan - 08 October 10:35

More than half a million people rely on food banks to eat; almost triple that of the year before. Shame is the logical response - but something has been lost in translation.

New Statesman
Disabled and on the Work Programme: "Cold calling companies for 8 to 16 hours a week"
By Frances Ryan - 03 October 11:52

"Life is already extremely limited for me, but with the pressure of the Work Programme, I've just felt a lot more hopeless – about either getting a job or just feeling happy and well again."

New Statesman
Is private school like "social leprosy"?
By Frances Ryan - 02 October 13:12

You wouldn't feel guilty about buying a house, a car, or a holiday, so why feel guilty about paying for your children's education? Well, here's why.

New Statesman
Some bigotry is worse than others
By Frances Ryan - 27 September 10:50

Someone’s sitting around a table and saying, “Rape jokes?” “Yeah, great. We could sell that”, then, “I’ve got a thing about blacks too.” “Racism? Jesus, what sort of company do you think we are?”

New Statesman
What's wrong with a Parliament made of Tweedledees and Tweedledums?
By Frances Ryan - 16 September 13:47

David Nuttall may have ridiculed the idea of job-sharing MPs, but a new system could restore faith in British politics.

Girls shouldn't feel like they have to "perform like pornstars"
By Frances Ryan - 03 September 14:15

A problem which affects all of society has its roots in classrooms and on the internet, writes Frances Ryan.

The people who can't use Crossrail
By Frances Ryan - 27 August 11:52

London's major new transport project is inaccessible to thousands for a saving of just 0.2 per cent of its budget.

A year after the Paralympics, are things now getting worse for disabled people?
By Frances Ryan - 19 August 15:25

While we talk of "legacy", it’s starting to feel like what happened exactly a year ago this month not only hasn’t elevated disabled people, but is being used to trap.

There's a nuanced debate on welfare waiting to happen, and Benefits Britain 1949 isn't it
By Frances Ryan - 13 August 15:04

Channel 4's Benefits Britain 1949 asked modern benefits claimants to live under conditions from 1949 - the reason being, what exactly?

The five worst arguments in defence of lads' mags
By Frances Ryan - 08 August 17:34

"This is a matter of freedom!" No. No, it's not.

The seaside town of East Jaywick in Essex
How disabled people are turning to payday loans to cope with benefit cuts
By Frances Ryan - 31 July 9:46

As their benefits are cut and their bills - for care, council tax, food, and the like - remain the same, disabled people are turning to payday loans, credit cards or even illegal lenders to try and make ends meet.

A traffic sign depicting children
"If you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen": the falsities we attach to sexual abuse
By Frances Ryan - 16 July 14:40

As the extensive media coverage of the Stuart Hall and Jimmy Savile cases shows, we are now in the era of exposure. And yet until we are willing to talk about what goes on behind the headlines, sexual abuse will remain something that happens to other peop

If Facebook is serious about gender-based hate, why is it still hosting revenge porn?
By Frances Ryan - 18 June 14:08

Want to get back at your girlfriend for leaving you? Upload a photo she gave you in private and let strangers help you abuse her. Facebook won't do anything about it.

The next stage of the bedroom tax: families threatened with eviction
By Frances Ryan - 11 June 14:33

The possible damning effects of the bedroom tax are now becoming reality, and as Frances Ryan finds, people are struggling with arrears and trying desperately to hold off eviction.

Depression and austerity: “It’s as though my mind and body have both just closed down”
By Frances Ryan - 02 May 14:53

Suicide should never be exploited for political ends, but it would be wrong to ignore the effect of the cuts on people's mental health.