Thoughts and reports on inequality, from disability to gender

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One in seven families with disabled children are going without meals. Photo: Getty
Indignation at stories of “rejected” disabled children masks the harm done by government cuts
By Frances Ryan - 26 August 17:09

Cases like that of “Baby Gammy” or the adoptive mother who allegedly turned down a baby because it was born with a disability are welcome distractions from the bigger, deeper problems faced by parents and disabled children under austerity.

A man in a wheelchair makes his way down a cobbled street in Rome. Photo: Getty
Poor doors? If you’re disabled, you’ll know society’s segregation doesn’t end there
By Frances Ryan - 11 August 14:06

When faced with steps, it is not the need to use a wheelchair that makes the person disabled – it is the fact no one has thought to build a ramp.

Campaigners demonstrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice against the Government's reform to limit state benefit on February 21, 2014 in London, England. Photo: Getty Images
Social media means the voices of the disabled can no longer be ignored by those in power
By Frances Ryan - 07 August 16:20

The coalition government’s harsh welfare cuts have been met by a surge in activism among disabled people, who have found that social media has given them new clout to fight for their rights.

David Ruffley MP speaking in the House of Commons.
What David Ruffley's resignation tells us about attitudes in power to domestic violence
By Frances Ryan - 29 July 8:31

The Conservative MP will stand down at the 2015 election after accepting a police caution for a common assault on his former partner earlier this year.

Nicky Morgan voted against same-sex marriage partly because of her Christian faith. Photo: Getty
Why does an MP’s moral code matter more than anyone else’s?
By Frances Ryan - 16 July 15:36

Faith doesn’t justify voting for inequality or taking the rights of minorities.

Crossbench peer and former paralympic athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson. Photo: Getty
Tanni Grey-Thompson on assisted dying: “People come up to me and say ‘I wouldn’t want to live if I was like you’”
By Frances Ryan - 15 July 11:17

The crossbench peer talks to Frances Ryan about the debate surrounding the UK’s first piece of legislation to address the right-to-die, and her concerns that it will put pressure on vulnerable people to “take the next step”.

Stuff magazine is dropping the scantily-clad cover stars. Photo:  Joe Loong on Flickr, via CC
Lads’ mags are starting to drop the scantily-clad cover stars – sexism is over now, right?
By Frances Ryan - 03 July 10:39

Loaded magazine has relaunched without topless cover stars, while gadget mag Stuff has dropped the scantily-clad girls, too. Is the “buy a magazine, get some misogyny for free” idea finally dead?

Overcrowded hostels and expensive B&Bs can lead to people sleeping on the streets. Photo: Getty
Life in limbo: what it’s like to be one of Britain’s hidden homeless
By Frances Ryan - 19 June 12:41

The threat of people losing their home if they rent is at its highest level in more than a decade.

A pupil raises a hand to answer a question in class. Photo: Getty
Grammar schools widen the gap between rich and poor. Why are we still surprised by this?
By Frances Ryan - 29 May 15:14

Meritocracy – embodied in the grammar school system – is concerned with achieving equality between equals and permitting inequality between un-equals.

“It's not only steps that keep us out”: mainstream feminism must stop ignoring disabled women
By Frances Ryan - 20 May 16:15

In matters of sex, sexuality and political campaigning, the resurgence of mainstream feminism overlooks disabled women, who are left with the “half-life” of slicing their identity.

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.

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