Rachel Cable tracks Welsh Government’s progress towards gender equality
At last week’s Welsh Labour Party conference in Llandudno, Oxfam Cymru and the Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales launched Wales’ first Feminist Scorecard. The scorecard illustrates the Welsh Government’s initial strides towards becoming a feminist government and in shaping Wales towards becoming a feminist nation – but there is still a long way to go. The Scorecard, tracking Welsh Government’s progress towards gender equality across six areas of policy, shows what could be done now to progress this agenda.
The Feminist Scorecard was published just over a year after the then-First Minister Carwyn Jones set out his ambitions to lead a feminist government. The first step on this journey was for the Welsh Government to commission a Gender Review, which is ongoing.
In parallel to the Gender Review, Oxfam Cymru and WEN Wales joined forces to develop the Scorecard.
The Scorecard highlights six policy areas where the Welsh Government could do more to advance women’s rights and gender equality. The Scorecard provides a snapshot in time, covering the period from the National Assembly for Wales elections in May 2018 to February 2019. Each area is given a traffic light score, of red, amber or green, indicating if there has been very little, some or significant progress towards equality for women and girls in Wales. These areas, with their respective overall marks, are as follows:
- Women and caring responsibilities – AMBER
- Ending violence against women and girls – RED
- Women and equal representation and leadership – AMBER
- Global responsibility and women – AMBER
- Jobs and pay equality for women – RED
- Taxation and budgets impact on women – AMBER
There are some policy areas within the six categories where we find examples of significant progress being made: First Minister Mark Drakeford, for example, has demonstrated his commitment to women’s leadership by delivering on his campaign promise to appoint a gender-balanced Cabinet; in the National Assembly for Wales, the gender balance amongst Assembly Members, at 47% women, is better than in any other UK parliamentary body; and the Welsh Government’s claim to be a leader within the UK in provision for refugees and asylum-seekers is backed up by concrete policies and action – the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees, for example, has endorsed the Welsh Government’s recently launched ‘Nation of Sanctuary – Refugee and Asylum Seeker Plan’.
The Welsh Government has shown excellent intention but we need action. Women continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty and consistently over-represented in low-paid, part-time, insecure and temporary work. We need to ensure that Welsh Government are held to account and that there is sufficient scrutiny of their policies if we are to see genuine and lasting change. Welsh Government have acknowledged that “while much has been achieved in Wales, gender inequality remains a stubborn feature of Welsh life”.
Oxfam Cymru stands ready to work with Welsh Government to advance women’s rights in Wales and across the globe.
We’d really like you to contribute to these debates and discussions! Please use the hashtag #FeministScorecard and tag @OxfamCymru and @WENWales if tweeting about it.
All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.