Chwarae Teg’s recent Spotlight — the Gender Equality Research Hub event.

Sponsored by Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones AM, was held on 29 June 2016, at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay.

Chwarae Teg’s Spotlight – the Gender Equality Research Hub aims to provide a ground for sharing, debating and supporting research into gender, equality, the economy and Welsh society.

The Research Hub brings together researchers and policy officers from various fields, including academia, politics, the third sector and trade unions to share research, engage in discussions and plan how best to use current research to influence policy.

The research hub also provides networking opportunities for researchers and policy officers.

Our most recent Spotlight event on 29 June was kindly sponsored by the National Assembly for Wales’ Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones AM and was attended by a range of policy researchers, officers and academics.

In her opening speech, Ann Jones AM promoted the efforts on gender equality research and emphasised that:

— “These efforts to share, debate, and support initiatives will allow more women to fully participate in the future of the Welsh economy and wider society.

“They will ensure that the women of Wales will continue to have a positive and confident environment in which they can reach their true potential.”

The opening speech of the Presiding Officer was followed by presentations by Jennifer Dunne from the Equality and Human Rights Commission ( EHRC ) and Dr Duncan Holtom from the People and Work Unit.

Jennifer Dunne presented one of EHRC’s latest research projects. ‘Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination’:

Starting on a positive note, she revealed that “87% of employers in Wales feel it is in the best interests of organisations to support pregnant women and those on maternity leave”.

However, the presentation continued with some bad news:

  • 71% of Welsh mothers reported negative or discriminatory experiences.
  • 46% of Welsh mothers reported a negative impact on their career ( opportunity, status, job security ).
  • 36% of Welsh mothers would have liked flexible working arrangements but were fearful it would be viewed negatively.

The research findings shows that one in three small businesses found additional maternity leave difficult to manage, and one in six employers felt that small businesses lacked the resources to cope with this.

Jennifer Dunne concluded her presentation by underlining some action areas such as ‘Improving Employer Practice’ — ‘Improving Access to Information and Advice’ — ‘Improving Health and Safety’ and ‘Improving Access to Justice’.

‘Breaking the Links between Poverty and Ethnicity in Wales’.

Dr Duncan Holtom presented recent research called ‘Breaking the Links between Poverty and Ethnicity in Wales’ commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

He underlined the links between gender, ethnicity and poverty in his presentation and mentioned that Wales is the one of the poorest parts of the UK and, on most poverty measures, females experience a higher disadvantage.

Some key messages of the research were:

  • Unemployment and ‘poor work’ [low income and in-work poverty] affect all ethnicities and both men and women.
  • Some ethnicities and some women [e.g. from different ethnic background] are particularly disadvantaged.
  • Gender has an additional (negative) impact upon earnings – ethnicity does not.

Help to tackle poverty.

Dr Holtom demonstrated the complex social structures that affect the impact of poverty on different social groups, and he suggested that an understanding of inequalities and how different groups cope with poverty is key for taking action.

In addition, acknowledging people’s relationships with services, and helping services become more ethnically and gender sensitive, more ‘person-centred’ and better able to handle differences would help to tackle poverty.

The presentations were followed by a question and answer session and a fruitful discussion on solutions.

The next meeting of Chwarae Teg’s Spotlight will be held in October 2016.

Related.

EHRC Research. Pregnancy and maternity discrimination research findings.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Breaking the Links between Poverty and Ethnicity in Wales.