The cost of being a woman

The cost-of-living crisis continues to affect our finances, yet the impact is not felt equally.

The cost-of-living crisis emerges as yet another pressing challenge disproportionately affecting women. Like the pandemic, it serves to amplify the entrenched structural disparities experienced by women, rendering them vulnerable to its impacts. This jeopardises progress in advancing economic and social equality for women and sending it into reverse.

For International Women’s Day 2024, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Young Academy of Scotland brings a panel of experts from academia and practice to dissect this challenging topic. They will explore the historical context of systematic inequalities that persist today and some solutions required to address the imbalance, from workplaces to the law.

This discussion has been inspired by the RSE’s recent policy advice paper to the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee inquiry examining the impact of the cost of living crisis on women.


A woman in a striped shirt and smiling at the camera

Professor Lynn Abrams FRSE

Professor of Modern History, University of Glasgow

As an historian of the modern world, Professor Abrams’ research has been primarily concerned with advancing understanding of the nature of gender relations focusing, in particular, on intimacy and the self and to contributing to innovative methodological approaches, notably personal testimony in all its forms. She has expertise in the history of the child welfare system in Scotland, has published extensively in the field of Scottish social and cultural history including on housing, masculinities, and gendered identities and currently leads a project on the economies and cultures of knitted textiles in Scotland.

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Dr Agomoni Ganguli Mitra

Senior Lecturer in Bioethics and Global Health Ethics

Dr. Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra is a Chancellor’s Fellow at Edinburgh University School of Law and Director of the JK Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and the Law. She is also a member of the Wellcome Trust-funded Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society and a member of the Board of Directors at Shakti Women’s Aid.

Agomoni’s research is in bioethics and policy, with a particular interest in global bioethics, structural, epistemic and gender injustice. She has written on the ethics of global surrogacy, sex-selection, biomedical research in low-income countries, social value in research governance and the concepts of exploitation, vulnerability, and conscientious objection in health and biomedicine.

A woman smiling for the camera

Jillian Merchant

Partner and Solicitor Advocate, Thompsons Solicitors

Jillian Merchant is a Solicitor Advocate and has over 12 years experience specialising in employment, discrimination and professional regulatory law. A Partner at Thompsons Solicitors, Jillian has appeared regularly before the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the Sheriff Court and various professional regulators. Jillian has conducted numerous multi day proofs and Fatal Accident Inquiries.

Jillian also sits as a member of the Conduct Panel of Cricket Scotland, is Vice Chair of the Scottish Sports Association and is a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland.

Jillian is a former Chair of Glasgow Rape Crisis and was previous Vice Chair of Abortion Rights.

A person sitting at a desk in front of a computer

Professor Yvette Taylor

Professor in the Strathclyde Institute of Education

A queer feminist sociologist, and author of Working-Class Queers (Pluto, 2023). Yvette research intersecting social inequalities, often including social class, gender and sexuality. She is currently a RSE Personal Fellowship on Queer Social Justice. Find out more about part of the project: Queer and the cost of living crisis seminar series.


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