Women aren’t buying Brexit for a very simple reason : they understand Brexit in ways that men don’t.
For women, Brexit is tangible, in your face and confronted daily. Dip into a shopping trolley and it’s there, as women disproportionately do most of the shopping in households. 40% of vegetables and 37% of fruit come from the EU. Smaller packaging and sugar taxes can’t hide that or the fact that 18% struggle to feed their families.
90% of single parents are women, often part-time workers about to lose EU employment protection. Brexit is full-on shame when as health workers (who are also disproportionately women), their families, friends and children being torn apart by a spiteful disregard for being part of a mixed-nationality family or community, taking for granted the joys of travelling, living, working, loving and playing in a borderless Europe. The neglect of Northern Ireland and the peace the EU helped and cement is so horrifying that it's mind-blowing.
Women understand all too well that sneakily dumping the Charter of Fundamental Rights, along with maternity and paternity rights, social, welfare and employment protection, steals our legal right to tolerance, mutual respect for diversity and non-discrimination.
Women aren’t buying Brexit because it's clear that Brexit will overwhelmingly have a negative impact on women, especially women who will be negatively impacts by intersects such as race or sexuality. The 2017 White Paper mentioned ‘trade’ five times and ‘women’ and ‘equality’ not once. Ignoring women doesn’t mean they will shut up about bearing the brunt of Brexit.
Yet, it's been clear that women have been completely overlooked in the Brexit debate. 90% of Brexit speeches on the Withdrawal Bill was grabbed by men. 62% of senior ‘Brexit’ civil servants are men, and the rest relatively inexperienced and prone to quitting asap to move to another department. Only one senior woman was in the team sent to Brussels. Women experience Brexit in ways alien to the preening puerility of far too many Ministers and their chums. They experience the weasel words of ‘security of trade and employment’ as an odds-on certainty of being ever poorer.
Who thinks it’ll be okay for their kids to face shrinking worlds and fewer opportunities while their EU peers enjoy unfettered opportunities in the EU27 to learn, work, explore, innovate and create and generally have a better quality of life than that Brexit assigns to all stuck on tiny Britain? Women revolt at the vile and immoral reality of ending freedom of movement. They see the daily distress of children and families being ripped apart. Women are not in thrall to xenophobia and seeing people just as units of labour.
For women, a promise of a ‘better future, a Brexit dividend in 10, 20 or 50 years time’, personifies buffoonery and ageism: British (and especially women’s) pensions are among the very lowest in the EU – 29% of earnings compared to over 50% in most comparable EU27 states.
Brexit’s pernicious petty belittling of women’s voices has denied Brexit of reason.
Scorning women and pretending that Brexit serves democracy doesn’t make women accept protestations that another man could get a better deal. Women aren’t interested. We want what we have in the EU. We want to have a say on the Brexit deal. We want a People's Vote.