Women’s Resource Centre has been out and about around the country meeting and talking to trade union women about the why women? campaign and encouraging them to take information back to their regions, branches and trade union sisters.
We were at UNISON Women’s Conference in Harrogate in February where we had a stall and as delegates were also able to speak in favour of a motion on funding to violence against women services. It was great to see so many of the motions highlighting the impact of the cuts on women’s organisations and we urged everyone to find out about and support their local services through the campaign.
Next we had a stall and also ran a fringe event at TUC Women’s Conference in Eastbourne just after International Women’s Day. Over 50 women attended the fringe event which looked at how women and women’s organisations are already the real Big Society and had speakers from various trade unions, UNISON, GMB, PCS, and TUC, as well as Maternity Action and WRC. The speakers provided strong evidence on how the cuts disproportionately affect women and also spoke about the vital work that women’s services do, particularly during tough times. Ros Bragg from Maternity Action provided a perspective from a women’s organisation and spoke about the issue of maternity rights which are also at risk. The focus of the conference was ‘women against the cuts’ and again it was great to see motions addressing the cuts to services that women use and in support of organisations such as Abortion Rights and Rape Crisis (England and Wales).
Our last stop was at NUS Women’s Conference in Oxford where we ran a workshop on the affect of the cuts on women and how the why women? campaign can be used locally to support women and the services they use. It was great to see a new generation of feminist activists really engaged with the issues and ready to take the information back to their universities. Many were already involved in action around cuts in their areas and wanted information on how to ensure there was a gender perspective and facts and statistics on the specific impact on women.
At all the events we were able to give out our new trade union leaflet as well as various campaigning materials and had people signing up to stay in touch with the campaign. For more information on our work with trade unions see www.wrc.org.uk/whywomen/tradeunion and for campaign materials and other information for students see www.wrc.org.uk/students
Thanks to all those that we met and your support – hope to see you next year!
We're the umbrella body for women's organisations in England and Wales. We specialise in supporting women's organisations to deliver their work more effectively; networking women's organisations so they can learn from and gain strength from each other; and campaigning on behalf of the women's sector.