“Every decision that is made can be a step closer to a gender equal Wales” – that’s the message from Chwarae Teg chief executive Cerys Furlong this International Women’s Day.
The gender equality charity leader is urging business owners, employers, policymakers and politicians to embed action to tackle inequality into their day-to-day decision making.
This follows on from the publication of the charity’s “State of the Nation” report last month which showed that progress was frustratingly slow when it comes to many gender equality indicators in Wales. This clearly demonstrates the need to embed a gender perspective into everything that we do as well as all plans and actions across government, business and society.
Data in the report showed that two issues remain absolutely critical to secure a gender-equal Wales: childcare and unpaid work; and sexual harassment, abuse and violence. This year’s data also exposed, once more, how characteristics such as gender, race, sexuality, disability, class, age and faith can interact and produce often multiple experiences of disadvantage.
Research has shown that action to improve gender equality can lead to multiple benefits with Chwarae Teg’s own report from 2018 showing it could add £13.6bn to the Welsh economy.
Cerys Furlong, Chief Executive, Chwarae Teg, said:
“The theme this International Women’s Day is #BreakThe Bias and that’s exactly what we need to do to create a truly inclusive and equal nation. We also need to break the habit of only considering the implications on gender equality after decisions have been made. Treating gender equality as an afterthought across politics, business and society results in the slow progress we see.
“At Chwarae Teg we are urging business owners, employers, policymakers and politicians to embed action to tackle inequality into their day-to-day decision making. Our State of the Nation report demonstrated that progress on gender equality is frustratingly slow. This shows that we need to change our way of thinking into all plans and actions across government, business and society so that equality becomes embedded.
“Our State of the Nation report and the lived experience of women, continue to show us that two issues remain absolutely critical if we are to secure a gender-equal Wales – childcare and unpaid work and sexual harassment, abuse and violence. These issues affect every aspect of women's lives, and as with many issues of inequality, are felt more acutely by women of colour, disabled women and other marginalised groups.”
Cerys Furlong went on to talk about action that could be taken to improve progress:
“We are calling on businesses and employers to look to adopting more agile and inclusive working practices which can support staff with caring responsibilities, and to take action to tackle sexual harassment in their workplaces.
“We’d also like to see policymakers and politicians considering how and where money is invested and how public policy can more effectively drive change that works for women – using approaches which address the root causes of inequality. This must involve reshaping the economy to better value the work that women do, ending our dependence on unpaid care and investing in vital public services such as childcare and social care.”