Throughout the outbreak we've been hearing from women whose mental health has been severely impacted by lockdown and coronavirus. Worries about health, finances, relationships, working outside the home, juggling work and childcare and approach to easing lockdown have all added additional strain.

This event explored the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on women's mental health - including Fawcett and partner’s data on Black and Asian women and women from ethnic minority backgrounds, disabled women and single parents. We discussed why women’s experiences have been overlooked by decision-makers and how those in power could better understand, reflect and prioritise care and mental health when responding to the current crisis.  


Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society


Sam joined Fawcett in August 2015 as Chief Executive. Prior to Fawcett, she was the Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus for over six years. Sam is no stranger to equalities and gender issues having worked for both the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. She also served as a Fawcett trustee between 2007 and 2010, was a trustee of Gingerbread for seven years and has nine years’ experience working in Parliament. Sam is passionate about equal representation, valuing and sharing care and closing the gender pay gap.


Born in Tanzania, Agnes has lived in the UK for 12 years following her family’s relocation to a small town in Devon. She studied at the UWE Bristol, graduating with a BA in Business Management with Economics — before going on to work in the charity sector, creating and managing youth-led programmes in East Africa. Her own experiences as a Black woman, as well as witnessing the deterioration in mental health in the Black community around her, were both key drivers in her setting up Black Minds Matter U.K. in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. 

You can donate to Black Minds Matter U.K. here


Dawn Butler MP was elected as the Member of Parliament for Brent South on 5 May 2005 and became the first elected African-Caribbean woman to become a Government Minister in the UK. Dawn was then elected MP for Brent Central in 2015.  

A natural campaigner, since returning to Parliament Dawn has taken on the ‘Big 6’ energy companies over the excessive cost of pre-payment meters. Dawn continues to commit her time in parliament to representing groups and people in society that are often underrepresented. 

Dawn has been awarded twice by the Patchwork Foundation having been voted People's Choice 2016 Labour MP of the Year Award and next receiving the Overall MP of the Year Award 2017 and in 2020 was named one of the 25 most influential women in the UK by Vogue. Dawn served as Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities between 2017-2020. 


Vicki Nash is Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, the mental health charity. A seasoned campaigner, Vicki leads Mind's policy, lobbying and campaigns work, ensuring we reflect the needs and experiences of people with mental health problems and speak truth to power. Issues range from welfare reform and benefits, to improving access and quality of mental health services, and tackling stigma and discrimination. Vicki Joined Mind in 2008 and previously worked for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the Holocaust Educational Trust. 


The Young Women's Trust's Advisory Panel is a group of 30 young women, aged 18–30, from across England and Wales. They are at the heart of the work that the Young Women’s Trust do – leading, designing and campaigning based on their own experiences of living on low income or pay. You can read more about the advisory panel here

Fawcett is campaigning to make women's voices and experiences in all our diversity visible during the coronavirus outbreak. This event was free as we wanted everyone to be able to attend. You can use our support pages to make a donation to Fawcett and to support our campaigning for women’s rights. We are so grateful for any help you can give.

Coronavirus has been a tough time for many of us, if you are worried about yourself or a loved one please see our help for individuals page which includes a number of mental health helplines. Mind have also set up a coronavirus information hub with lots of advice about looking after your mental health during this time. 

Booking for this event has now closed.