This new report provides up to date information about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the women's sector in the UK, as well as its service users.

After years of austerity, cuts to local public services, competitive tendering, a push towards generic service provision and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, women's organisations have experienced ongoing and sustained pressure on their services for many years. Against this backdrop, the cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated existing issues and has resulted in a sector that is at breaking point. 

Increased demand was still the number one pressing concern for the women's sector, two years after it was highlighted as the top issue during the pandemic. 

This, combined with reduced capacity and resources due to rising costs, and complexity of workload is putting strain on organisations and staff. So, it's not surprising that staff wellbeing and burnout is the third most pressing concern for women's organisations in 2023 and that recruitment and retention is also a pressing concern for 28% of organisations. 

The areas that organisations saw the most increase in demand (over 50%) were no recourse to public funds (35%), advocacy (34%), and homelessness and housing support (33%). The effects of the cost-of-living crisis are impacting Black and minoritised organisations and their service users more acutely than other organisations. 

The women's sector is picking up the pieces of a weakening public infrastructure. 84% of respondents reported an increase in the need for family courts advocacy. 

One of the recommendations in the report is a long term funding settlement for the sector. To those ends, WRC is calling for an independent, national Women's Fund. Sign our petition here!