This fringe event hosted by Policy@Manchester at the Labour Party Conference is free to attend and outside the secure zone - a conference pass is not required

Devolution opens opportunities for metro mayors and combined authorities to achieve economic and social improvements for their communities and to address gender inequalities. How can we increase diversity within devolved policymaking decisions and get gender on the agenda?

Policy@Manchester have recently produced a publication called On Gender. This publication aims to identify what we know – and what we need to know – about gender inequality in tackling the big policy agendas devolved to Greater Manchester and other areas with devolution deals.

The contributors summarise the ‘gender agenda’ that needs attention and what is known about inequalities nationally and locally. We will be launching the publication in early October but would like to share an advanced PDF copy with you. Two of the speakers on this panel, Donna Hall and Francesca Gains, have been involved with the publication. There will be advanced paper copies of On Gender at the conference and panel event.


Chair – Sam Smethers - Chief Executive, Fawcett Society @Samsmethers @fawcettsociety

Sam joined Fawcett in August 2015 as Chief Executive. Prior to that 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.

Speaker – Naz Shah MP – Shadow Minister of State for Women and Equalities @NazShahBfd

Naz Shah is the Member of Parliament for Bradford West and the Shadow Minister of State for Women and Equalities.

Before becoming a Parliamentarian, Naz had a unique story of being a grass-roots campaigner fighting against gender-based violence. Naz has continued the struggle for women’s rights in her parliamentary activities. She spoke out against the murder of Samia Shahid her constituent murdered in Pakistan for honour-based violence. She continues to lobby both the British government and the Pakistani Authorities to provide justice for Samia, as her killers are yet to see the full force of the law. In utilising her role in Parliament, Naz continues to raise her voice and campaign on a number of issues relating to her constituents, ensuring they are provided with effective representation in Parliament.

Speaker – Francesca Gains – Professor of Public Policy, The University of Manchester @FrancescaGains

Francesca Gains is a Professor of Public Policy and Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester at The University of Manchester. Before becoming an academic she worked in local government & the probation service, and has both government-funded and Parliamentary research experience.

Her research explores the relationship between political management arrangements and policy outcomes. Current projects investigate the devolution agenda including new arrangements to support Police and Crime Commissioners (with Vivien Lowndes) linked with ERC funded Understanding Institutional Change research; and the changing use of impact assessment across Whitehall.

Francesca also has a long-term research agenda examining gender & policy making in the UK core executive and comparatively. She conducted research on 'Pathways to Politics', the routes to representation and barriers faced by under-represented groups for the Equality and Human Rights Commission and was a co-investigator on a ESRC Seminar Series considering Feminizing Politics.

Speaker – Donna Hall – Chair of the New Local Government Network @NLGNthinktank

Donna Hall was Chief Executive at Wigan, the second largest council in Greater Manchester. Despite £100 million of cuts, Wigan has been voted by 72% of its staff as the best council to work for in the UK. Donna leads on Public Service Reform in Greater Manchester and was awarded a CBE for services to local government in 2009.

Donna initiated a major programme of reform in partnership with residents, The Wigan Deal. She is a passionate feminist and has recently won the award for Transformational Leader at this year’s Northern Power Women Award

Speaker - Rachel Statham – Economic Analyst, IPPR / IPPR Scotland @rachelstatham_

Rachel is an Economic Analyst working across IPPR Scotland and IPPR’s Centre for Economic Justice, where she specialises in gender, social policy and devolution. Before joining IPPR Rachel worked across policy and communications for the newly founded Women’s Equality Party, where she managed the party’s political campaigning.

Rachel’s research is interested in the opportunities and challenges automation poses -- particularly for women’s jobs and unpaid work -- and how inclusive growth agendas can deliver greater economic justice across the UK.

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