Research & Policy Reports & publications West Midlands Mayoral Election: Women and Girls Manifesto 18 February 2021 West Midlands Mayoral Election: Women and Girls Manifesto We are a group of organisations working in partnership to strive for gender equality and women’s rights in the West Midlands. Coronavirus is worsening existing inequality: women, in particular Black, Asian and ethnic minority women, single mothers, Disabled women and young women, are being hit hardest by the social and economic impacts of the virus. We call on all Mayoral candidates to commit to gender equality, improving the lives of all women and girls in the region and ensuring women are represented at the West Midlands coronavirus recovery decision making table. But this isn’t just about improving women’s lives. Everyone in the West Midlands will gain if we deliver for women. We call on Mayoral candidates to pledge to: Deliver equal representation of women in policy-making across the West Midlands Increase funding and support for organisations working to end violence against women and girl Improve women’s access to secure employment Increase access to mental health support, and Ensure access to safe, affordable transport across the region. The Mayor of the West Midlands will not be able to deliver their Industrial Strategy without engaging the skills and talent of the women who live there. Devolution deals and Metro mayors provide an incredible opportunity to ensure that power is shared equally by those within devolved regions. Fawcett’s 2021 analysis found that in the West Midlands Combined Authority, just 19% - 6 out of 32 members - are women. Male-dominated power structures will fail to deliver for women unless women’s voices are heard and included at the table. Read the manifesto here. Our partners: Felicia Willow, Interim CEO, The Fawcett Society said: “Three in ten women in the West Midlands say that they are 'struggling or worse off financially' because of coronavirus. Coronavirus is worsening existing inequality: women, in particular Black, Asian and ethnic minority women, single mothers, disabled women and young women, are being hit hardest by the social and economic impacts of the virus. It is vital that the combined authority, which is still majority-male, listen to women and make sure that women in all our diversity are represented at the regions coronavirus recovery decision making table.” Sharonjit Clare, Co-founder, West Midlands Women’s Voice said: “We endorse the Fawcett Society Manifesto, it rightly highlights those issues that women of the West Midlands have voiced as needing to be addressed by the incoming Mayor. Improving inequality, women’s access to secure employment and leading the way by involving 50% women in policy is surely key to inclusive growth. During the next Mayoral term the CWG will be an international platform for the West Midlands and the first showcase of UK after Brexit. It is imperative that the tone of the preparation, the event itself and the legacy is exemplary in levelling up on inclusivity and diversity. Deeds not words a must.” We'd like to thank our funder Barrow Cadbury Trust, for supporting our research and campaigning to make devolution across England work for women.