Oxfam Social Innovation Boost

boostIn February I took part in a 2.5 day innovation process to help Oxfam come up with some great ideas for how to solve women’s poverty. It was amazing, exhausting and emotional. You can see me in my various states of dress in this video below.

Big up to the women from SkillsNet, Marginal Voices and City Gateway Women’s Project. Also look out for my GENIUS idea on a post-it “more bloody money”….

 

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Gender Equality Charter Launch

Gender-Equality-585x275-300x141Whoop! Pretty excited about the Gender Equality Charter being launched on 10 March 2016… It’s been a year of consulting and talking, learning, persuading but I think this is pretty cool. Here is the press release from LBBD or you can read more here.

An east London council has made history by becoming the first local authority in the country to adopt a Gender Equality Charter.

The Cabinet at Barking and Dagenham, where the actions of Ford machinists Rose Boland, Eillen Pullen, Vera Sime, Gwen Davis and Sheila Douglass changed labour relations, last night adopted a Gender Equality Charter and called on local partners to support the initiative.

The charter will support everyone in achieving their full potential and have more influence over decisions affecting their lives. It places a strong emphasis on making sure that all genders have the same chance of success.

It has been developed through consultation with the community and focuses on four themes; access to power and representation in public life; economic inequality and impact of caring responsibilities; culture including gender stereotyping; and, violence against women.

It reflects not only the national issues that impact on gender equality but, more importantly, prioritises the issues and challenges identified locally.

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Darren Rodwell, said: “I am proud to be the Leader of a council that is delivering ground breaking work on gender equality.

“Our borough has a proud history of promoting gender equality – from the 18th Century writer and philosopher, Mary Wollstonecraft, and the early suffragette movement, to the workers of Fords who helped secure the equal pay legislation we enjoy today.

“The charter will help make sure the council and its partners make a demonstrable difference to tackling gender inequality and support everyone to achieve their full potential regardless of their gender.  I believe this will inspire civic pride and help us to build one borough and one community.”

Councillor Afolasade Bright, the Council’s Equality Champion, added: “The council has a vision to tackle equality issues relating to each of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act, and is starting with gender equality – which affects everyone.

“In particular, tackling the issues faced by women, girls and the transgender community in the 21st Century needs the active support and participation of everyone, especially men and boys.

The Gender Equality Charter will be launched at an event on 10 March in Barking Town Hall, and will be the centrepiece of the council’s second annual, Women’s Empowerment Month.

Interviewing Sarah Lyall from the New Economics Foundation about the shorter working week

podcastSorry, this is about 7 months late! In the absence of the fabulous Kirsty Styles, I took over the Weekly Economics podcast to talk to economics guru and my buddy Sarah Lyall about why working a shorter working week would be good for the economy.  This weekly podcast about economics is a must listen, so tune in here.

Kirsty and James are away for the bank holiday, but the show must go on. Guest host Polly Trenow is joined by Sarah Lyall, NEF social policy researcher, to talk about how shorter, more flexible hours of work could be transformative for our economy and society.

 

Feminist economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

I was delighted to be asked to come and discuss feminist economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in York. I did two sessions – the first was a general talk about the ways in which gender interacts with the economy, you can see that session captured in the video below. The second was a session for the policy staff who asked a lot of tough questions! We looked more specifically at some of the measures the Women’s Budget Group advocate for in order to create a more equal society.

Great to be up in York with you all!

Resist! Against a precarious future

I was really delighted to be part of this book. I’ve written an essay on how care work makes the world go round and it’s part of this collection. We’re crowd funding for the £2k publishing costs to get it out as a free e-book and although we have some of the costs covered by the publisher we still need a bit of money. Here is the blurb, please consider giving some money there are some awesome perks!:resist

Resist! is the third book in the Radical Future series: publications written and edited by young* activists, journalists and artists calling for radical alternatives to the status quo. We’re interested in social justice, liberation and collectivity, and the ways young people are organising to create change. If you think mainstream politics is a dismal failure and you still have hope we can do better, this book is for you.

The first book in the series, Radical Future: Politics for the next generation, was written before the 2010 election (remember back when things were bad, but we had no idea how much worse they were going to get?). The follow up, Regeneration, was published in 2012, and received over 50,000 downloads.

Resist! includes chapters about youth activist movements, re-envisioning work, feminist economics, direct action against the housing crisis, alternative media and organising after the London riots, from contributors like feminist campaigner Polly Trenow, activist Wail Qasim and openDemocracy journalist Adam Ramsay. It is edited by journalist and openDemocracy editor Ray Filar.

We’re really excited about this next book and can’t wait to get it published.

But to get there, we need your help.

Like the first two books in the series, we want to make Resist! as accessible as possible by also offering it as a free ebook (as well as a paperback version). But ironically, publishing a free ebook is expensive. The publisher, Lawrence & Wishart, is covering most of the costs, but we need help with the final £2000. And we need it sharpish to get it out before the general election. So that’s why we’re asking you to donate. Your money will go towards typesetting, copy editing, proofing, and promotion.

We’ve put together some amazing rewards. As well as beautiful merchandise designed by our talented cover artist Yoav Segal, we’re harnessing the talents, pub-debating skills and canal boats of our contributors. We’re offering prints that you can put on your wall, and tote bags with our cover art on. You’ll also find a great selection of workshops, excursions and experimental fun, all there to encourage you to part with your cash.

If we get more money than our target, we’ll divide it up to pay everyone who has given their time for free. Anything over that we’ll put towards the next book in theRadical Future series. You can read the first two books in the series right now. For free!

The full list of contributing authors to Resist! Against a Precarious Future are:

Sarah AllanCraig BerryMatthew CheesemanRhiannon ColvinSean FarmeloRay FilarRobbie GillettDeborah GraysonNoel HatchIzzy KoksalBen Little, Wail QasimAdam RamsayNiki Seth-SmithMike ShawPolly TrenowMatt Adam Williams.

*in some cases, at heart

 

More councillors being sexist!

polly guardian

The report I wrote for the Fawcett Society really took off. I had my first appearance on Woman’s Hour, which for a professional feminist is about as good as it gets.

It also appeared in the Sunday Times,The ArgusThe GuardianThe Yorkshire Post and The Belfast Telegraph and the Metro.

You can read a copy of the report here.

Colchester Labour respond to #Vote4Equality questions

colchester labour partyIf elected would we do an equality impact assessment on all local budget cuts on women?

First and foremost I would say that we would not be looking at making cuts that impacted directly on any one group so the idea that we would be making local budget cuts to women directly is difficult to imagine. However if put in a situation where we had no option but to make cuts to any service, an EIA would always be undertaken.

If elected will you defend specialist women only services eg rape crisis centres and women’s refuges?
Absolutely – do we need to say more? Cuts to specialist services such as these need to be avoided at all costs. We will continue to work with the PCC in order to keep VAWG at the top of crime agenda.

If elected how will you improve representation of women on your council?
As a group we are aware that women can often be put off politics and that we do not have the proportionate representation in local politics. We have made a commitment to engaging people in politics at a much earlier age and that would include working with girls and encouraging them to think of politics as something they should/ could/would want to be involved in. We will work with our Equalities Officer and local women’s groups to identify ways in which we can make councils more inclusive.

If elected what will you do to re-open Sure Start centre that have closed and defend the one’s that already exist.
Sure Start Centres are funded by the Conservative run County Council and we are acutely aware that Essex County Council is looking to make budget savings of 2.5 million pounds in this area. We will continue to influence any decisions where at all possible and will campaign with families when fighting to keep services open. Fundamentally however we feel that these services will only be saved with a change of national administration.

If elected how will you ensure that women benefit from strategic/enterprise/partnership funding?
The Labour group acknowledges that women are the more likely to be users of public services and as such the current cuts are disproportionately effecting women (and in turn families) We are committed to defending public services and to working with unions and other organisations who also believe in the public sector.

If elected will you undertake a gender pay audit in your local council?
Yes, we agree that this would be a positive move.

If elected how will you improve your councils engagement with local women and women’s organisations.
We will work with our Equality Officer to look all possible ways of maximising engagement, we will work with local unions and their Women’s Officers, we will access appropriate training in order to our knowledge around these issues. We will engage with local women’s organisations to seek representation in all areas that effect women.

What will you do to tackle sexism and sex discrimination in your council.
We will acknowledge that it exists!
We have robust policies which seek to minimise any opportunities for such behaviour. We will also ensure that our policies do not disadvantage women
We will take all such accusations seriously .
We feel that sexism is far less likely to take place in a workplace where women are properly represented throughout the workforce and in positions of power so we would seek to get rid of any imbalances that exist in his area.

Podcast on pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

5015254002_0159f2fe31_zI was delighted to talk to Freelance Bristol Mum, Faye Dicker for her regular podcast about the work I do at Maternity Action on raising awareness of pregnancy discrimination.

You can listen to the podcast here.

It is estimated that around 60,000 women a year are forced out of their jobs just for being pregnant or on maternity leave and although the government have announced £1 million fund to research this issue, there is plenty the government can be doing to end pregnancy discrimination now. This includes removing the £1200 it costs women to take a discrimination claim to tribunal, ensure fully and sustainably funded legal aid and advice services so women know their rights and reinstate the questionnaire procedure which allowed companies and individuals to determine if discrimination had taken place. Read more in Maternity Action’s report ‘Overdue: A plan to tackle pregnancy discrimination now‘.

If you’ve experience bad treatment at work because you were pregnant or on maternity leave, tell your story anonymously to the When I Had My Baby campaign run my yours truly!

Photo of Licia Ronzulli, Italian MEP shared under Creative Commons by the European Parliament