Harriet Harman, the women’s minister, said: “There is a major fear about women being targeted by their employers during the downturn. This is unlawful.” Another senior minister said women could be set back for “a generation”.
Outside Hackney Jobcentre the drizzle lands on the pavement. Inside, two dozen men stab at computer screens, looking for the day’s offers.
There is nothing extraordinary here, in the depths of a recession – except the lack of women. “There’s nothing there to find,” said Muhammed Maih, 26, who has been in and out of catering and retail work since the start of the recession. “More women get admin work. I want something too. When it gets worse and worse, I’ll take whatever’s there.”
Mr Maih is only one of more than 1.5 million men out of work. The latest figures reveal that men are losing jobs at twice the rate of women, producing a crisis of a magnitude seen only once since the end of the Second World War. In the US it has already been given a name: now, the “mancession” is spreading to Britain.
Are you happy now, Harriet, you hatchet faced harridan?
UPDATE: Perhaps this helps to explain why..