Equality is on the top of the agenda for Dorset’s WAND

Equality is on the top of the agenda for Dorset’s WAND


‘Inequality for women must end in Dorset’, say the Women’s Action Network Dorset.
The group has launched a campaign for a Women’s Charter in the county, hoping to tackle inequality.
Women in senior and influential positions from many backgrounds including politics, culture, business, education, and finance, joined forces at a meeting earlier this month, to put plans in place to drive equality forward.
Chairperson of WAND Marianne Storey said: “Women and girls have experienced inequality for very many years – not just in Dorset but globally. What’s positive is that we are starting to experience a new time of unprecedented opportunity for women as society begins to acknowledge the sexism that is so entrenched, and to change its views and its biases about women’s specific roles, abilities, needs and ambitions.”
Underpinning the campaign is how opportunities, feeling safe, and health and life expectancy vary according to where the 393,000 women and girls of Dorset live.
Marianne said: “This makes Dorset the right place to launch a Women’s Charter – a charter which recognises that very specific action needs to be taken to redress this imbalance for women.
“We are going to do that by creating a charter that will set out what we expect from our representatives, leaders and decision makers and what women should be able to expect as citizens living in this county.”
Women’s charters are nothing new. The London Women’s Night Time Charter, the Bristol Women in Business Charter are working and more organisations are rolling them out to ensure gender equality in the workplace, including the RMT Women’s Charter and the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter.
Nicola Newman, ex CEO of Ansbury Guidance, who co-hosted the event with Marianne, said: “There are women in Dorset who experience inequality, sexism, misogyny, discrimination, exclusion and hardship because of their gender. And yet, in the same county there are also women who experience privilege, wealth, good health, extensive opportunities, first class education and a free and productive life.
“We have some fabulous women leaders in our business community and our schools, colleges and universities are first class.
“Dorset women do not have the same experiences countywide and so, quite apart from the obvious gender inequality, there is inequality amongst women themselves and that needs to be addressed.
“By creating a charter, we can set out exactly what any woman should be able to expect in our county and then hold decision makers to account for making sure it happens. This charter will be written by women, for women, about women. And we expect hundreds of women to stand behind it.”
Marianne Storey added: “In the wake of the success of the Lionesses at the Women’s Football Euros 2022, we can see clearly that our society is shifting its attitudes towards women which is hugely encouraging.
“Now is the time to give women and girls opportunities to take full advantage of that shift and start working towards a fully inclusive, safe, healthy and equal society where no-one is held back or compromised because of their gender or where they live.”
n For more details about WAND visit www.wandwomen.org.uk  or follow on social media @DorsetWomen or the hashtag #DorsetWomen

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