Naomi Brightmore says another blow has been dealt to gender equality in Wales
It comes as no surprise that women are yet again being sidelined in the world of politics. We’ll be fighting for decades at this rate, or another 20, as projected by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The lack of Government support to women and the tackling of discrimination and inequality has resulted in another tragic blow to the cause: the ‘voice of women in Wales’ being silenced, with the closing of Wales Women’s National Coalition, the key network organisation for women in Wales.
The Welsh Government has failed to fund the Coalition, the key consultative body on gender that represents women in Wales at all levels, locally, nationally and internationally. With its English and Scottish counterparts being Government-funded, we the women of Wales are essentially being told that we do not deserve the same rights, protections and representation as other citizens of the nations of the UK.
The Wales Women’s National Coalition represents more than 50 grassroots organisations and think-tanks by
- Lobbying for women at ministerial meetings;
- Providing responses to Government and public sector consultations to ensure the views of women are heard.
- Campaigning and educating through its publications.
- Allowing women a chance to be at the heart of policy and decision-making through fighting for them.
But soon it will cease to exist. The legacy will not be a small one. For example, the organisation has chaired the Wales Violence against Women Action Group, developed a soon-to-be-launched Gender Budgeting toolkit for local authorities, the Government and other public bodies, and worked with other organisations to deliver a pre-election debate that sought to bring women’s issues to the forefront of politics.
So why is it the case that funding has been withdrawn from an organisation like this? Apparently there is no need for such an organisation to represent the women of Wales. This is despite the under-representation of women in public life and politics, the ever-increasing poverty of women, and the continuance of a significant gender pay gap.