22 DECEMBER 2014

So it’s goodbye 2014, but hello from me: Belinda Phipps, Fawcett Chair

It’s almost the end of 2014 but it’s my first blog as Chair celebrating another great year for Fawcett, because, with its customary professionalism and dedication from everyone involved, there is no doubt at all that Fawcett has achieved some fabulous things this year.

I can’t listen to the radio, watch the news, or read the quality newspapers, without hearing and seeing excellent, informed discussions about the gender pay gap and lack of female politicians and women in boardrooms by all sorts of people, including Fawcett.

Only last week Women’s Hour had a full discussion with politicians from three parties taking part. In fact at a recent meeting I attended (in the audience, but not identified) I heard Simon Hughes (Justice Minister) talk eloquently and supportively on the subject.

Our work on power and the economy and the pay gap is well known. Our ability not just to influence the discussion but to set the agenda is spectacular, considering our size.

There is no doubt that the ministers from the three main political parties who have the women’s portfolio support the work we do and are keen to act to right the wrongs.  They regularly use Fawcett data and quote us.

Fawcett really has been instrumental in getting the message out there that it is just wrong that women are treated less favourably than men in the areas of life that enable power and control and economic security.   And, the really great thing is that Fawcett has most of that time led the discussion or has provided the information so that discussion can take place from knowledge and evidence.

It never ceases to amaze me that for a charity with so few staff and relatively few members the effect we have is so significant. So thank you if you supported us as member or by taking action or were just with us in thought.

This year is particularly impressive given the changes in the staff team; the office move; the financial issues; putting right some of our partnership arrangements; and a well-intentioned project which was bringing much needed attention to feminism from a younger audience and raising much needed funds which ran into trouble with Mail on Sunday – not a friend of Fawcett, or women in general. But, you know when newspapers like the Mail on Sunday go for us it means we are doing our job well.

Organisationally we have started to move forward, we have new trustees who are absolutely excellent and raring to make Fawcett even more influential. We have many excellent local Fawcett groups who want to work more closely with Fawcett staff and we had and excellent Annual General Meeting. We have started to pay proper attention to our members and the groups and how we communicate with you and, we do more and do it better on social media.

We have had a good year, including a bit of a boost in membership but we want to do better so some of our challenges for 2015 are: to get our infrastructure stronger; increase our membership; and to raise enough money to continue with our work and to deliver inside our charitable objects.

You can help us with that. Fawcett is a membership organisation and we use membership money wisely. You only have to take a look at just a selection of what we did in 2014 to see that Fawcett membership is value for money. So don’t forget one last Christmas present to yourself, your best friend, or family member – buy a Fawcett membership, you know it makes sense and is value in making a difference to women in the future!