Bristol Women’s Commission and partners joined together at City Hall on International Women’s Day 2023 (Wednesday 8 March) to celebrate a decade of working towards women’s and girls’ equality.
The full commission meeting reflected on the past 10 years – the achievements, the challenges and the collaborations – before looking to future priorities. The hybrid meeting heard from Councillor Geoff Gollop on plans for a committee system to replace the current mayoral system in 2024 and how equalities work features in that.
Established on International Women’s Day 2013, the Commission – Chaired by Penny Gane – was created to help deliver the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life.
It brings together partners from the council, police, NHS, universities, charity sector and business world to identify and address issues impacting women and girls. It has a strong track record of influencing policy, raising awareness of issues and taking – and inspiring – action.
Work undertaken by dedicated task groups – covering education, health, the economy, business and women’s safety – includes the creation of reports, delivery of campaigns and running of events as well as input into national and regional consultations. The Commission remains the only one of its type in the UK.
Penny said: “It was great to reflect on some of the progress we’ve made over the past decade by bringing together partners under one aim – to achieve women’s equality. But we known there’s still a long way to go.
“A lot has changed over the past 10 years – we’ve got more women councilliors on Bristol City Council, we’ve pushed women’s health up the agenda into national and regional policy and we’ve launched a successful Bristol Women in Business Charter to improve the lives of women in the workplace.
“But women’s safety is still a major concern – with one women killed in the UK every three days by men – which is why we’ve been working with the police and other partners to try and address this, including tackling the attitudes and behaviours that lead to male violence. This is something we will continue to do.”
The meeting also heard from Oona Goldsworthy, Chief Executive of Brunelcare and Co-Chair of the One City Homes and Communities Board who spoke passionately about the need for investment in social care – and highlighted how women are disproportionately affected by homelessness and unaffordable housing.
Penny added: “The caring economy has become a key issue and the main focus of our economy task group – we’re having important conversations locally and regionally. Women’s equality will not be achieved unless we invest in caring as infrastructure, we will keep bringing partners together and campaigning on this.”
Bristol Women’s Commission will continue the International Women’s Day celebrations on Saturday, with a women’s leadership panel event at City Hall featuring Equity UK President Lynda Rooke, Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Police Sarah Crew, CEO of Voscur Rebecca Mear and Unison Regional Secretary Joanne Kaye.
Find out more here.