The working women's parliament - TUC women's conference - gathers in London this week and we do so in the knowledge that over a million women are now unemployed.
Women and children have been particularly targeted by the Con-Dems' ruthless cuts agenda.
Unite has reported that a staggering 40 per cent of women say they are turning to payday loans as one in three run out of money by week three each month.
To date a total of £14.9 billion cuts have been made each year of this Parliament to benefits, tax credits, pay and pensions, with 74 per cent of this taken from women's incomes.
And recently we have learned that the coalition's plans to cut maternity pay mean 1.2 million women will see their finances further squeezed, with poorest mothers hit hardest.
Over 400 Sure Start centres, providing affordable childcare and family support services, have been closed.
The no-growth austerity cuts programme - local government cuts are expected to be 28 per cent during the course of this Parliament - is taking a drastic toll on services for women too.
In a stark example over 30 per cent of the funding for Violence Against Women (VAW) services has been cut from local authorities since the Con-Dem government was elected.
Violence and sexual abuse haven't gone down by 30 per cent. There's just 30 per cent less support for their victims.
Workers are being laid off, with cuts made to essential outreach and children's workers, so VAW can keep refuge beds open - but even then Women's Aid has reported that on a typical day in 2011 230 women, almost 9 per cent of those seeking refuge, could not be accommodated.
And the ideological attacks on employment rights - on the Equality Act and Equality and Human Rights Commission, on the Agricultural Wages Board - threaten the basic human rights of agricultural workers and migrant domestic workers, removing their status as workers in their own right and effectively reintroducing bonded labour.
This is horrifying and shameful. The trade unions must say loud and clear - not in our name.
The growth of women's unemployment by a third of a million shows that even in the government's terms these policies are just not working. The impact is particularly severe for young women, black women and disabled women.
The case that women are paying in jobs, income, and discrimination for the gross mistakes of the mainly male City elite with their reckless casino-style disregard for financial probity is unarguable.
We are at an important crossroads for the women of Britain.
Are the advances of the last 40 years, such as the 1970 Equal Pay Act - born from the equal pay struggles of Ford women machinists, and pushed through by Labour minister Barbara Castle - to be supported and built on, or to be attacked and eroded even further?
David "calm down, dear" Cameron and his Bullingdon Club Chancellor George Osborne have given us their answer.
And with 11 times more millionaires than mothers in the Cabinet their choice of priorities should not come as a surprise.
Nor should the reflection in the polls that women have been deserting the Tories in droves.
Cameron's pathetic excuse for slashing equality checks and audits was that we need "faster government." Safeguards were "bureaucratic nonsense" and "tick-box stuff."
Well, we have a message for him - faster government in the wrong direction means disaster comes more quickly. This government is demonstrating that by the day.
With a little over two years to go before the next general election, now is the time for the Labour Party and the trade union movement to construct a programme to roll back the savage attacks on women and to set out the positive response.
Women in Unite have come together nationally and regionally and set a strong agenda to rebuild at the grassroots, organising women at the workplace and, through our new community membership, open to unwaged women and carers too, linking up with women's organisations.
Key priorities are set out in Unite's Action Alert, Getting women off the Path to Poverty.
We need a living wage and equal pay. An immediate £1 per hour on the minimum wage. Full employment for women and well-paid part-time jobs.
Employment needs to be family-friendly and we need affordable, high-quality childcare. The cuts to benefits must stop, credit unions must be promoted to prevent reliance on loan-sharks and we need statutory rights for union equality reps to ensure issues such as women's health in the workplace are considered.
Finally, we need to ensure women are in leadership at all levels. Fawcett Society figures on the representation of women in politics reveal that since 2001 Britain has dropped from 33rd to 60th out of 190 countries.
It is not women who caused the global economic crisis, yet it is women who are paying the highest price - all over the world. Governments need to listen to and be led by the voices of women. Trade union women must take a stand.
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