Throughout the last few years, I have been a Woman’s Officer for the Labour Party. This involved attending meetings across the UK with the :Labour Women’s Network, being a member of the Welsh Labour Women’s Committee and I am a founding member of North Wales Labour Women.
During this time, I chaired Aberconwy Women’s Forum meetings with women members and I have met representatives from several organisations, who work and volunteer to improve life chances for women and girls. Amongst some of these organisations are Welsh Women’s Aid, Chwarae Teg Cymru/ Fair Play Wales, Wings Cymru, The Red Box Project, The White Ribbon charity, WASPI-Women Against State Pension Inequality and Conwy and Denbighshire Waspi, Unison, GMB and The Haven of Light.
It has become more clear to me over time, that the world is not fair or equal for women and girls. We live our lives thinking that there is equality, but we just need to scratch upon the surface to see the truth. From differences to pay in work, to domestic abuse in the home; from modern day slavery hidden in the corners of our society, to overtly obvious issues, such as bullying in the workplace and sexual harassment in public spaces and schools.
So far, through working with others, I have made strides towards gender equality-highlighting these issues, partaking in research and writing motions (suggested changes to policies and legislation), delivering conference speeches, and lobbying ministers to enable the following developments:
- Providing State-Paid Childcare for Pre-School Children (30 hours free per/wk for 3-4yr olds)
- Ending Call-Clipping in the Social Care Sector (including paid ‘time travelled’ and ending zero-hour contracts in the care sector)
- Ending Period Poverty in Schools and Colleges (Period Dignity across Wales with Free Sanitary Products in schools, then extended to colleges) NB: Through this enacted policy in Wales, the UK Government followed…
- Pushing forwards Statutory Menopause Policies in all Workplaces across Wales and the UK.
There is still some way to go to achieve full gender equality. As a teacher, I find it heart-breaking that some of the brightest minds that belong to girls, are lost, due to societal expectations and prejudices. Often, when women leave education and join the workplace, they are held back and underpaid. Don’t get me wrong, as an English Teacher, I have also worked to bridge the gender gap in literacy standards in boys. All genders should be equal and treated the same. My firm belief is that, in a just, moral and ethical society, noone should be held back. We should ensure all people are supported to fulfil their potential, whatever that may be. That is why I propose the following, as my Gender Equality Manifesto. I will always drive forward these areas, to ensure that our Wales is fair, happy and prosperous, and that our country will be admired for equality across the world.
A GENDER EQUALITY MANIFESTO
- A full commitment to the eradication of the gender pay gap across all workplaces in Wales.
- To gradually introduce gender quotas, incrementally, leading to eventual 50:50 male/female representation on all public boards, committees and panels.
- ‘Unconscious Bias’ training for all employers and managers.
- Compulsory Menopause policies in all workplaces in Wales
- State paid childcare from 12 months of age.
- Shared parental leave during the the first 12 months of parenthood.
- Further funding of Domestic Abuse refuges.
- Developed and improved ‘Healthy Behaviours’ education programmes.
- Continuing free provision of period products in schools and colleges.
- Investment in STEM and business training of women and girls.
- A developed and funded network of successful women from several industries in Wales, the UK and globally.
- To ensure that access to free NHS fertility treatment is available for same sex lesbian couples.
- To prevent the closure of public toilets, a community asset, across Wales.
- To encourage language learning for asylum and refugee women across Wales, to develop their confidence and self esteem in society.
- To improve better pay and standards for carers and unpaid carers, which are predominantly women.
- To ratify Istanbul Convention on the Rights of Women and Girls across all legislature in Wales, preventing sex trafficking, female genital mutilation and violence against women in all its forms.