Local Elections 22 May: Women Lobby Candidates To Take #WomensSafetyPledge – EVAW

‘On 22 May we will elect the people who make the real coal face decisions about services which protect women from violence…’

Locate your candidates and contact them using tools here

The End Violence Against Women Coalition today (7 May) launched a local elections campaign which will see its members and supporters all over England petitioning those standing for election to local councils on 22 May to take the #WomensSafetyPledge.

The national group of more than 60 women’s organisations includes many domestic violence refuges, Rape Crisis helplines and BME women’s organisations who have been hit hard by the ‘austerity cuts’ (1). Their wide network of supporters are targeting election candidates and keeping a tally of those who take the pledge in order that local services and activists can go back to those elected after 22 May and discuss how their commitment will be implemented.

End Violence Against Women Coalition supporters are also showing candidates the results of a 2013 YouGov poll which revealed that a large majority of people in the UK expect their local council to fund high quality support services for women facing abuse (2).

The #WomensSafetyPledge commits candidates if elected to do all in their power to ensure:

  • Services are protected for women who need them – whether or not they report abuse to the police
  • Schools are safe 4 girls – good sex & relationships education and teacher training
  • Safety in public spaces as well as in the home – tackling sexual harassment and any unsafe ‘no go areas’ for women and girls
  • Strategy to end and prevent abuse before it happens – is the best way to bring all these measures together.

End Violence Against Women Coalition members and supporters are sending letters, emails and tweets to candidates and to their local political parties. Some are organising #TwitterHustings and others approaching their local press and radio.

End Violence Against Women Coalition Campaigns Manager Sarah Green said:

“Our 20,000 local councillors make many of the day to day coal face decisions that absolutely affect women’s safety and ability to live a life free from violence – they fund specialist services which help women in crisis, they influence the way schools teach young people about respect and equality, and they determine community safety priorities.

“Women’s support services – refuges, helplines, BME women’s support groups – are an unsung ‘4th emergency service’ in our communities. Election time is a crucial time for ensuring they are protected.

“There is endless talk at national level about the elusive ‘women’s vote’ and what the parties need to do to secure women’s votes in a closely fought 2015 general election. Our members and supporters are telling local election candidates that they will be held accountable for decisions they take on women’s safety. And they are doing it through every means possible – the old fashioned letter, through email and Facebook, and even running Twitter hustings!”

End Violence Against Women Coalition election guide, template letters and more are available to read and download here.

  1. Professor Sylvia Walby’s 2012 research on cuts to women’s specialist services is here.
  2. EVAW commissioned this poll by YouGov in advance of the 2013 county council elections.

Check for updates http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/news/149/evaw-launches-local-elections-campaign

May 9, 2014

#Vote4Equality on 22nd May! Fawcett

Make your vote count

  • Women make up only 32% of local councillors in England and 24% in  Northern Ireland. (1&2)
  • 12.3% of local authority leaders in England are women, compared to 16.6% in 2004 (3
  • Only 13% of elected mayors are women (4)
  • Women make up only 32% of members of the European Parliament(5)

On Thursday May 22 nd,  the country will go to the polls to vote for the European Elections. In addition, around 180 local areas in England and Northern Ireland will be voting for new local councillors or mayors.

Women’s representation at a local level is stagnating with virtually no change in the level of female councillors in the last ten years. At the same time, the number of female council leaders has dropped by 5%.

Yet local government wields wield a lot of power. Not only is it one of the key routes into Westminster, local government spending make up a quarter of all public spending – over a £100 billion. (6)

Ongoing cuts to local government spending are having hugely disproportionate impact on women, undermining access to key services such as childcare, social care and special services for victims of violence against women. A lack of female voices around local decision-making tables will only exacerbate this situation.

What can you do?

Arm yourself with the facts – read our top stats on women representation in local government

#Vote4equality – ask your council candidates!

You can find also find out who your current European Members of Parliament are here.

Check for updates at http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/activity/vote4equality/#sthash.VVuHrnYv.dpbs

May 9, 2014

16 May 2014 ~ Women’s Spaces Conference Programme – some tickets left

PROGRAMME

9.30 Registration Registration, coffee  
10.00 Welcome Introductions, housekeeping etc Prof: Alison Blunt
10.10 Why “Women Only”? Women’s Spaces in Feminist Politics (joint project with Elizabeth Sharp) Dr Ruth Lewis
Lesbian / Separatist Politics Dr Julia Long
Cultural and religious diversity issues Pragna Patel
Women’s Safety Franki Hackett
Immediate Questions
11.15 Coffee
11.25 Spaces we have lost/
Spaces we still have/
Spaces we are planning to have
Chair’s intro Alison Blunt
Womens Library & Feminist Library Gail Chester
Irish Women’s Centre Marian Larragy
Lambeth Womens Project Ego Ahaiwe
W. Hampstead Women’s Centre Rukhsana Chishti
Nottingham Women’s Centre Melanie Jeffs
Crossroads Women’s Centre Anne Neale
Rooms of our Own Wendy Davis
Tindlemanor Emma Scott
Womens Resource Centre Viv Hayes
Immediate Questions
1.10 Lunch Leaflets, books available
2.00 Women only events W. F.Women’s Network Nadia Baksh
Full Picture Club Nabila Pathan
2.20 Virtual Women’s Spaces A Room of our Own Louise Pennington
No more Page 3 Lucy Ann Holmes
Everyday Sexism (invited)
2.50 Questions and Discussion Outside facilitator and all the speakers Jane Garvey
4.00 Tea Networking time
4.50 Close Closing remarks

Some tickets still left – see http://www.womensgrid.org.uk/groups/?p=2001

May 7, 2014