Posted 8th March 2021
The following blog is by Social Value UK’s Interim CEO Catherine Manning
The International Women’s Day theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge to call out gender bias and inequality. Social Value UK has the fight against inequality at its very heart. We have been working to act on equality, diversity and inclusion across our team, governance, membership and network. There is much to do.
Visibility of inequality is necessary to be able to address it, and on this International Women’s Day we will look at some of the inequalities felt by women in the UK. Across our country, there is huge diversity of experience for women, the intersectionality of race, class, disability, religious affiliation, geography, and the many other factors of our lives bring vastly differing experiences for women’s lives across the UK. Overall, the last year has not been good for gender equality and women’s rights globally or nationally.
- Domestic violence has increased, the Centre for Women’s Justice states that calls to domestic abuse services increased by 49%, and number of deaths trebled compared to 2019 figures. As of 8 Feb, in 2021 25 women had been killed by men in the UK.
- Trans women (and all transgender people) are experiencing a rise in discrimination, hate and violence. The BBC reported that 350 transgender people – mostly trans women of colour were murdered worldwide during 2020. A report in the US from 2013-14 found that the life expectancy of trans women is between 30-35. Stonewall are challenging this by fighting for ‘acceptance with exception’ and trans equality in the UK.
- Women’s work, mental health and wellbeing have been disproportionately affected with a KCL report finding women playing a greater role at home, able to do only a third of the uninterrupted work hours as their male counterparts, and a disproportionate number of women on the frontline as health and care workers with greater exposure to the pandemic. A recent survey by Pregnant Then Screwed of (almost) 20,000 women found 15% have been made redundant or expect to be, during the pandemic. 72% of mothers had to work fewer hours because of childcare issues. 65% of mothers surveyed were furloughed due to a lack of childcare. Of those employed, 81% said they need childcare to be able to work, but 51% did not have that in place to be able to do so. The government did not included child care in the economic recovery plan. One ray of light is the move towards the normalization of flexible working.
- Even before the pandemic, Black women were 5 times more likely to die in child birth than white women. Research has shown that during the pandemic, Black, Asian or minority ethnic women are 4 times more likely to hospitalized with covid than white women, as well as being more likely to work in environments they consider unsafe.
- Representation matters. 23% of the current cabinet are women, and Fawcett Society data found the 96% of councils remained male-dominated in 2019. The Parliament Project have been working to increase women standing for political office.
This context matters as we recognize all who are fighting the tide, excelling in their fields, and doing a bloody great job every day! There are inspirational women everywhere. The WISE 100 recognises women leaders in Social Enterprise.
Here on international women’s day in the Social Value UK community, this is a shout out to all the amazing women in this network, and the great things you all do.
Our members, championing change across sectors and industries. Leading in their organisations and driving the social value movement forwards. Supporting, leading and inspiring in their sectors. Driving standards of practice through their own businesses, and through supporting assurance practice. Our SVI Practitioners here in the UK. Our wider network, championing social value in VCSE sector, driving social value through government, and leading the progression of the Social Value Act into Central Government. Our wonderful board members, our global community, and the amazing women in our team.
Looking at the media treatment of women in the public eye, in many ways we are taught to demonise, and break down women, so that it is easier to dismiss them. We can fight against this by supporting and building each other up. You all inspire me, it is a joy and a pleasure to work with, and learn from you all, the social value movement would not be possible without you all.
Happy International Women’s Day 2021!