On International Women’s Day, March 8th 2013, Bristol became the first city in the UK to sign the European Charter for equality of women and men in local life. In addition to signing the Charter, the Mayor, George Ferguson established the Bristol Women’s Commission to be the mechanism by which the City demonstrates its progress on meeting the obligations of the Charter. The Women’s Commission was tasked with identifying key priorities for Bristol women and producing a strategy to implement the commitments in the Charter. Bristol Women’s Commission is made up of senior and influential women from key agencies across the city and six task groups made up of women with specific expertise or interest.The commission is chaired by Penny Gane, Chair of Bristol Women’s Voice and is actively supported by Bristol Women’s Voice – the network for all women in Bristol.
Who we are
Bristol Women’s Commission is made up of:
Alex Nestor - Bristol University, Alice Jones (sub) - Avon and Somerset Police, Alison Comley- Bristol City Council, Councillor Clare Campion-Smith - Bristol Lib Dem Cllr Group, Councillor Jude English - Bristol Green Party Cllr Group, Councillor Margaret Hickman - Bristol Labor Cllr Group, Councillor Ruth Pickersgill - Bristol Labor Cllr Group, Diane Bunyan - Bristol Women's Voice, Zoe Chegwyn - Avon and Somerset Police, Donna Whitehead - UWE, Helen Mott - Bristol Fawcett, Jackie Beavington - Public Health, Jana Smidkova - City of Bristol College, Theresa Hussey - City of Bristol College, Joanne Kaye - UNISON, Judith Squires - Bristol University,
Kalpna Woolf, Alicia Ogrady (sub) - Bristol University, Patricia Greer - West of England Combined Authority, Penny Gane - Bristol Women's Voice (Chair), Proffessor Jane Harrington - UWE, Sandra Meadows - Voscur, Sarah Pullen - Bristol Evening Post, Stephanie Marshall - BBC, Sue Arrowsmith -First West of England, Teresa Sullivan (sub) - UH Bristol, Keziah Featherstone, Deborah Waddell - CBI, Cllr Harriet Bradley - Bristol Labor Cllr Group
The Women and Safety Task Group have focused most of their work to date on tackling gender based violence, adding value to existing good work in this area through its influence and reach. Principally this has been through the Zero Tolerance initiative launched on International Women’s Day 2015. Employers across the city are asked to sign a pledge committing them to specific actions which work towards the elimination of all forms of gender based violence, abuse and exploitation. Free training is available for employers. The group have appointed a project coordinator and the initiative is managed by Bristol Women’s Voice. To see who has signed up and to follow our blog, go to www.bristolzerotolerance.com. You can find out more about the safety task group here.
Women's Representation in Public Life
The Women’s Representation task group works to increase women’s representation and leadership in politics and in both public and private sector institutions across the city. The group has organised a 50:50 Campaign to increase the number of women councillors in Bristol from 36% to 50% in 2016. As well as press coverage showcasing individual women councillors the group have led a highly successful training session for women considering becoming councillors.The group has also produced research on the make up of Bristol Boards and which boards individuals are on. Bristol’s Lord Mayor Councillor Clare Campion-Smith and elected Mayor George Ferguson joined Penny Gane, Chair of Bristol Women’s Commission and councillors and commissioners at the launch of the 50:50 campaign. Find out more about their work here.
Women and Transport
Women have distinct travel patterns and needs which are not always considered in transport planning and policy, meaning women can be excluded from economic and social activities through the transport system.Women make up the majority of public transport users. UWE have produced a report on Women and Transport for this group outlining how to mainstream gender policy within transport planning. The group brings influence to bear on transport planning and has raised a number of issues with First Bus which have been successfully taken on board. Find out more about the transport task group here.
Women in Business
This new task group made up of business leaders is initially developing a charter for women’s equality by reducing and eliminating the gender pay gap through a raft of initiatives around development, workplace culture, mentoring,, up-skilling, flexible working at all levels, equal pay for part time workers, childcare, apprenticeships, support for STEM initiatives (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
The Women and Health task group works to improve the health and wellbeing of Bristol Women of all ages through research, action, and influence.The main priority for the group last year wasYoungWomen’s Health in Bristol.A Bristol Women’s Voice volunteer undertook a literature review of young women’s health under the supervision of the University of Bristol, mapping the health needs and inequalities of young women. UWE has undertook a listening exercise with young women across the city.The group is also assessing how best to implement Dame Sally Davies’ report on the health of the 51%:Women at the local level. These initiatives will be part of a Women’s Health conference in March 2017. Find out more about the health task group here.
Women and the Economy
The task group works to address the economic and social exclusion of women on low income living in Bristol by promoting measures that include support for the living wage, secure contracts, accessible childcare, flexible working conditions and to enlist the skills, creativity and experience of women to help deliver shared economic prosperity for the city. Its priority this year has been influencing the Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver tangible outcomes for women in the development of the Enterprise Zone. The group worked with the Women’s Budget Group to bring together representatives from the Local Enterprise Partnership, Economic Development, Enterprise Zone, First Bus and women with a specific interest in the development to ascertain key entry points into the decision making process where the group is able to make a difference. To find out more about the Economy task group, click here.