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Letter published in the Guardian supports the call for a Women's Assembly Against Austerity

Protesters at TUC demonstration against cuts. Photo: Paul Brown/Rex FeatureWe believe that women remain at the sharp end of the government's economic and social austerity policies (Comment, 10 December). As women's unemployment rises, wages fall, the pay gap widens, benefits are cut and household and living costs rise, women face a daily struggle to keep themselves and their families from slipping deeper into poverty. It is a travesty that 45 years after the Dagenham women workers fought for equal pay, we see increasing parts of our economy fuelled on cheap labour, with more than one in five earning less than a living wage and two-thirds of these women.

In the workplace and in the day-to-day battles against poverty, discrimination, racism, attacks on disabled people, the blight of war and the destruction of the environment, women are fighting back. Women are playing a leading role in the movement against austerity, evidenced by the huge number of women on the 50,000-strong NHS demonstration outside the Tory party conference in Manchester in October.

Political leaders should be using the nation's resources in the interests of the majority of the people and prioritising the abolition of poverty, insecurity and the threat of war. Our society is moving in a dangerous direction and now is the time for us to decide how our wealth is used and what values underpin our society. In recognition of the leading role of women in the campaign against austerity and in articulating a new vision for our society, the signatories of this letter support the call for a Women's Assembly Against Austerity to take place on Saturday 22 February 2014 at Conway Hall, London. This event will build on the success of the People's Assembly launched in June.

Diane Abbott MP
Sarah Veale Head of equalities & employment, TUC
Vera Baird QC Labour police & crime commissioner for Northumbria
Natalie Bennett Leader, Green party
Michelle Stanistreet General secretary, NUJ
Carolyn Simpson Chair, Sertuc Women's Rights Committee
Maxine Peake Actress and dramatist
Francesca Martinez Comedian
Jane Stewart Chair, Unite Women's committee
Dr Finn Mackay Founder, London Feminist Network and revived London Reclaim the Night
Anita Wright/Dona Feltham National Assembly of Women
Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition
Kate Hudson CND
Ann Henderson/Kerry Abel Abortion Rights
Rachel Newton People's Charter
Clare Solomon National People's Assembly
Feyzi Ismail East London People's Assembly
Siobhan Endean National officer for equalities, Unite
Rafeef Ziadah Poet
Kate Smurthwaite Comedian
Anita Halpin NUJ NEC and former chair, TUC women's committee
Anne Scargill/Betty Cook Women Against Pit Closures
Barbara Switzer EC Institute of Employment Rights
Carolyn Jones Vice-chair, Morning Star
Rachel Yates Coordinator and commissioning editor, Class: Centre for Labour and Social Studies
Professor Mary Davis/Sharon Allen Charter for Women
Jude Woodward Adviser to mayor of London 2000-08
Pilgrim Tucker Communities organiser, Unite
Liz Payne Vice-chair, Communist Party of Britain
Hilary Wainwright Red Pepper
Professor Naila Kabeer LSE
Professor Nadje Al-Ali President, SOAS UCU
Nina Power Senior lecturer, Roehampton University
Anne Scott UK Secretary, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Barbara White Musician's Union executive committee
Professor Susan Michie UCU executive committee
Alpa Shah Reader, LSE
Denise Carlo/Lucy Galvin/Jo Henderson Green party councillors, City of Norwich
Ellen Nierop UNISON, Norfolk People's Assembly treasurer
Jo Rust King's Lynn & District Trades Council, Fenland People's Assembly, NW Norfolk Labour party
Marion Fallon Disabled People Against the Cuts, Norfolk
Jessica Goldfinch Former Green party Norwich councillor
Helen Hall Unison
Nerea Rosa Barros NUS community organiser, University of East Anglia
Brenna Bhandar Senior lecturer, Soas
Julia Charlton NEC member, Northumbria University UCU

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