Plans for the year ahead

Image Courtesy of Jacky Fleming

Taking stock, looking ahead

In 2013, Fawcett’s activities focussed on three main areas of women’s inequality – the lack of women in positions of power and influence in the UK, the way in which austerity and the changing labour market is affecting women disproportionately, and the danger to women’s equality as vital pieces of legislation came under review.

Key highlights included:

–       ‘Sex and Power: Who Runs Britain in 2013?’ This report, published with our coalition partners at Counting Women In, highlighted the extent to which women remain absent from the corridors of power across the UK – 4 out of 5 MPs are men, almost 90 per cent of public appointments go to men, more than three quarters of High Court Judges are men. Read more here

–       ‘The changing labour market: delivering for women, delivering for growth’, the culmination of a yearlong study exploring the situation for women in a rapidly changing jobs market, found that there are two key drivers behind the 25 year high in women’s unemployment:  drastic cuts to the public sector workforce and the growing numbers of single parents being required to seek paid work under changes to the tax and benefits system.  Read more here

–       ‘Red Tape, Red Lines’ examined the status of the UK’s ‘equalities architecture’ – the different laws and organisations concerned with progressing equality and/ or preventing discrimination. The report warned that many of these are under threat, and particularly cautioned against any weakening of the Public Sector Equality Duty. Shortly after our report was published, the review body considering the Duty decided to leave it as is. Read more here.

Alongside our public campaigning work, we did much work to build our networks – we now have some 20 local groups, and also rolled out two new membership schemes – Fawcett Plus and discount membership for those on lower incomes.

The Year Ahead

In 2014, we will build on these many achievements. We will continue to work to ensure women have a greater presence and influence in political life, especially in light of the 2015 General Election. Our research looking at the impact of austerity on women will drill down further into the way in which benefit changes are affecting women.  Both these strands of work will feed into a larger general election focussed campaign, due to be launched towards the end of the year.

At the same time, Fawcett will continue to grow our network of campaigners, supporters and partners.  Plans include a dedicated space on our website for local groups and new and innovative ways of engaging individual campaigners in our work. We will also be looking ahead to our 150th anniversary in 2015!

Upcoming highlights include

–       the next installment of our annual series assessing the representation and influence of women in the UK in politics and public life more broadly – Sex & Power: Who Runs Britain in 2014? will be published shortly.

–       The launch of an in-depth inquiry into the effects of a number of the recent raft of benefit changes on women. The findings of this project, alongside the significant work we have done in recent years to understand the impact of austerity on women – will form the policy basis of our upcoming campaign around the 2015 General Election.

–       Our new, enhanced membership scheme Fawcett Plus will later this spring host ‘Storytellers.’ This event will see author Kate Mosse OBE, founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and Lisa Appignanesi OBE, prize winning writer and novelist, discuss the contribution of women’s fiction to writing and wider change, and the importance of continuing to celebrate and profile this.

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