Still time to have your say on equalities poll

Picture: Markus Winkler from Pixabay

The Women’s Equality (WE) Party, Reading and Wokingham, are delighted to see that Wokingham Borough Council are calling for input and comments on their proposed Equality Plan 2021-2025.

Our WEP town councillor in Congleton, Kay Wesley, has shown the impact a WEP councilor can have by helping the town council there to implement an ambitious and future focused Equality and Inclusion Policy.

This policy focuses on the many benefits diversity and equality can bring. It reaches beyond the legal minimum to include those with caring responsibilities and differing socio-economic circumstances.

Kay has invited the CEO of their local domestic abuse charity to speak at council and as a result the council is now supporting a new domestic abuse hub in Congleton. She has also championed the town to become White Ribbon Accredited. White Ribbon is a charity of men aiming to stamp out male violence against women.

In 2020 we saw many examples of the dangerous impact of inequality on our society. The Black Lives Matter movement has rightly moved beyond the US to shine a light on the impact of racism and systemic racism in the UK. COVID has disproportionately impacted those from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds. Structural inequalities result in BAME people being more likely to be employed in higher risk and lower paid jobs such as in the caring profession.

They also result in financial inequality and differences in how health care is accessed.

Black women are four times more likely to die than white women during pregnancy or childbirth in the UK. COVID is having a disproportionate impact on women. Domestic violence escalated during lockdown. More women are having to leave their jobs or being made redundant due to the pressures of home-schooling and lack of childcare.  The lack of support for early years providers is putting many at risk of closure which will continue to have an impact on women’s ability to work.

WE welcome the efforts of WBC with regards their proposed Equality Plan 2021-2025 but urge them to be more ambitious. WE encourage WBC to spell out in the plan how they will be a stronger role model, for example, putting in a place a clear and transparent action plan to address their gender pay gap.

 WE would like to see a more ambitious plan, informed by data from local stakeholders and community groups, as well as from their own recent survey on racism in the borough.

WE feel there is an opportunity here to have aspirational, measurable goals, that will address the impact of COVID and have a real impact on the lives of many in our community.

Please do take the time to read and comment on the plan – the deadline is Sunday: www.wokingham.gov.uk/news-and-consultation/consultation-and-having-your-say/current-consultations/?entryid206=541633

Louise Timlin, Branch Leader, Reading and Wokingham Women’s Equality Party

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