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.

Adventures at Unison Women’s Conference

Last month I was delighted to be invited to present at Unison Women’s Conference in

unwc15Southport on behalf of the Women’s Budget Group. Last year I also presented at the Local Government Conference and there was a lot of enthusiasm for my analysis of local government spending and the impact on gender equality. I also gave a similar talk to the Essex Feminist Collective who were the ones who recommended me to speak at Unison.

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It was a fascinating morning as the caucus passed motions. Much to my delight

one of these motions was a call to continue to work closely with the Women’s Budget Group on the ongoing impacts of austerity on women, which was an

excellent start to the day.

In the afternoon I was presenting in the main conference hall which was slightly terrifying. We first looked at some of the problems with economic theory which is predicated on the household male-breadwinner model and does not have any means for understanding how resources are split within the household. Secondly there is a total failure by mainstream economics to take into account the impact of unpaid care work. We then moved to local government and looked at equality impact assessments. These can be quite dry but they are a good tool to show how the basics of gender budget analysis works.

It was a fantastic day and I am looking forward to working with Unison more closely this year.

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More councillors being sexist!

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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.