Monday, 16 May 2011

Strengthening Women's Voices in Government

By Rebecca Veazey, policy officer

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) is currently consulting around women's engagement with government and the new gender architecture that will replace the Women's National Commission, seeking appropriate ways for the government and Ministers to engage with individual women and women's organisations and strengthen their voices in government.

In recognition of the importance of the GEO's consultation; the WRC hosted an event with its members on Friday 13th May, bringing together a diverse range of women’s organisations to discuss the GEO's plans and the key issues impacting on the women’s sector.

As part of the event; attendees discussed the key challenges affecting women's organisations and how we can address them together, along with strategies for engagement with the GEO and ways in which women's organisations could work collaboratively in the future.

In the morning session, organisations discussed the GEO strategy in detail and then compiled a set of questions to ask representatives from Government. In the afternoon Helene Reardon-Bond, Director of Gender Equality Policy and Inclusion at the GEO, kindly attended and took questions from WRC members for more than an hour and discussed their key concerns.

Members reported that the event was a real success as it allowed them to express their views to government officials and to come together as a sector. Participants commented that they hoped to engage with one another more regularly and support strong channels of communication with Government.

To that end WRC strongly encourages all members to respond to the GEO consultation, as it provides a vital opportunity for women's organisations to have their say about government engagement and key policies impacting on women.

The consultation is open until 10 June 2011 and can be responded to through an online survey or alternatively organisations can submit a more detailed response by emailing:
womensengagement@geo.gsi.gov.uk

The WRC is supporting consultation events in other regions in order to give a more detailed picture of the opinions of the women's sector in the UK. If you would like to feed into WRC’s response please complete our online survey or email charlotte@wrc.org.uk, the deadline for responses to the survey is Monday 23rd May

To support organisations to respond the WRC will be producing a template consultation response which will be available on our website from Thursday 26th May. To read our briefing on this topic please go here.

Also here are the links for further information on the GEO consultation and to view the consultation document in full.

2 comments:

Annette said...

NAWO is most concerned to ensure we in the women's sector create a way for us to talk to each other about issues of concern that need the attention of government. It needs some form of consortium, a way of co-ordinating women's voices - perhaps a 'hub' - and some financial support to provide such a function. There is a question on the consultation where we can suggest/ask for this - the word 'consortium' is used. We think it needs to be able to bring together different strands - by issues; by geography; by governance issues for example; by the UK as a whole or nations within the UK; by European matters and beyond - international concerns. This came out clearly at the meeting. It would need the capacity to connect with women's organisations at all levels. What do you think?
Annette Lawson

Rebecca said...

I think that it's a brilliant idea and there is a real need to bring together the collective voice of women in the UK. I hope that NAWO, WRC and the rest of the women's sector can work together to ensure that this happens, and that capacity is created (and funded) in order to allow effective engagement with women's organisations at all levels.

Rebecca