Between Opportunities and Challenges: Women’s Community and Voluntary Organisations in London

 

Project team: Elena Vacchelli and Preeti Kathrecha

Women are underrepresented in areas of civic and political life, despite policy such as the Gender Equality Duty (2007) and more recently the Equality Act (2010). Although women organizations are specialist in their own areas and are often successful in establishing solid links with local communities, their ability to influence decision making is limited. Recent studies highlight barriers women organizations face as they try to achieve effective social change (WRC 2010). At the same time governance measures, such as the localism agenda, underpin the current Government’s plans to devolve greater power to local communities and there is a growing concern that decentralisation will have a negative impact on gender equality (NCIA 2011; WRC 2012).  Whilst localism as a concept seeks to empower local communities, without a focus on equality it may perpetuate female disadvantage. This project aims at assessing how recent governance measures have impacted women’s organizations in London and will gather information on what specific needs women organizations have in order to ensure that they are represented within local authorities and they are able to cope with a reduced amount of financial resources. Moreover, the project aims at ensuring that women’s organizations are aware of the policy changes occurred after the Equality Act (2010) and know what they can expect from public bodies.  To this aim the project will seek to identify areas in which women organizations need gender training and will commit to provide such training when further funding is available.

Aims and objectives of the project include:

  • Gathering information on specific needs of women organizations in order to ensure that they are represented within local authorities and they are able to cope with a reduced amount of financial resources
  • Assessing how recent governance measures have impacted women’s organizations in London and will
  • Mapping existing women’s organisations in London in order to evaluate any barriers  to access and needs
  • Identifying good practices and proposing recommendations which might contribute to the future sustainability of the sector

The final report can be read here.