Wales Women’s Summit explores public life journeys for women.

Marking IWD 2016, the annual Wales Women’s Summit explored the barriers women face on their journeys into public life.

The challenges facing women in Wales, from getting a job, to participating in public life, discussed in this unique International Women’s Day 2016 event chaired by journalist Carole Green.

Three organisations – Women Making a Difference, Chwarae Teg and Oxfam Cymru – joined forces with the Office of the Presiding Officer to offer women in Wales the chance to meet with decision-makers and the media and throw a light on the challenges facing women in Wales today.

Journey…

The Summit, which took place in Cardiff Bay’s iconic Pierhead building, included an innovative session with Welsh poet Rhian Edwards, which was designed to help participants explore their journey into public-life through the medium of poetry.

Assembly Members heard directly from women experiencing poverty, and discussed the policies that would make the biggest difference to them.

There was also an awards ceremony celebrating women who have achieved goals in their journey into public life.

Joni Alexander, Director of Women Making a Difference:

Changing the balance of power in our community halls and Senedd halls starts with empowering women with know-how and confidence.

It’s only appropriate we celebrate these women in Wales who are on this winding journey into public life. But empowering women will only get us so far in our mission for equality.

That’s why we’re coming together to explore some of the barriers women face, then looking at how we can work together to break them down.

Carys Mair Thomas, Head of Oxfam Cymru:

— “Women in Wales are disproportionately employed in part-time and low-paid jobs, meaning they are more likely to be experiencing poverty.

We need to realise that women’s experience of poverty is different and unless we tackle this we won’t eliminate it, whether here in Wales or around the world.

Those in poverty are much less likely to have their voice heard, so this International Women’s Day we want to make sure AMs hear directly from women experiencing poverty.”

Christine O’Byrne, Policy and Research Lead at Chwarae Teg:

— “Our National Assembly started with a 50:50 gender ratio, but at every election since has become more male dominated.

If women’s voices are underrepresented at decision-making levels, as is the case across Wales, then decisions will regularly fail to take account of gender issues.

That’s why supporting women in their journeys to enter public life is so important.”

Dame Rosemary Butler AM, Presiding Officer:

— “International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s, yet here we are in 2016 still campaigning for equality for women.

Women make up more than half the population but when we look at the decision-makers and leaders in our society, the majority are still men.”

“At the very least we are missing out on utilising some of the best talent around, and at the worst we are continuing to see institutionalised discrimination.

So it is great to welcome organisation such as Women Making a Difference, Chwarae Teg and Oxfam Cymru onto the Assembly’s estate to mark International Women’s Day.”

Childcare and transport…

The day included an opportunity for political parties to put forward their views and policies on gender issues, with direct discussions on key issues such as childcare and transport, with women from across Wales, including women who have participated in projects run by Chwarae Teg, ‘Women Making a Difference’ and Oxfam Cymru.

Related News: International Women’s Day 2016.