BWC

Bristol Women's Commission (BWC) brings together partner agencies and decision makers to identify and tackle issues affecting women and girls

About The Commission

Bristol Women’s Commission (BWC) was established on International Women’s Day in 2013 – when the city signed up to The European Charter for Equality of Women and
Men in Local Life. It is the only commission of its type in the UK.

BWC brings together representatives from across the city, working in partnership to identify and address issues that impact women. It has five dedicated task groups; Women’s Safety, Women’s Health, Women in Business, Women and the Economy and Women and girls’ Education. Each task group is chaired by a commissioner and has a mix of academics, experts and women working in the field.

A meeting of the full Commission takes place every two months and is chaired by Penny Gane – who also chairs BWV; the task groups meeting separately and bringing in non-member partner organisations and representatives to help inform the work.

An independent body, BWC works closely with Bristol Women’s Voice, Bristol City Council and Bristol One City. It receives £5,000 a year from the council’s budget to support it with its work.

The Women and the Economy task group exists to ensure that the local economy draws on the skills, experience and knowledge of women in Bristol. It produces important research to help inform decision-makers, including it’s ‘Delivering an inclusive economy post-Covid-19’ report and by commenting on the Bristol One City Economic Recovery Plan and the West of England Combined Authority’s Economic Recovery Plan and other relevant strategies. It is Chaired by BWV’s Diane Bunyan.

Working in partnership with representatives from the local NHS, including Chair Monira Chowdhury, this group aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Bristol women of all ages through research, action and influencing policy. It produces reports to inform strategy and succeeded in getting a chapter on Women’s Health in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). More recently, the group has been also identifying issues around Covid-19, including a focus on mental health.

Chaired by BWC Vice Chair Anna Smith, the Women’s Safety task group comprises members from the local authorities, including Avon and Somerset Police, and charities supporting women in the city. It identifies issues around safety on public transport, domestic homicide rates and problems around Sexual Entertainment Venues in Bristol – raising these with the relevant authorities and pushing for action.

The Education task group connects female students with women leaders across the city, giving girls a voice in decision-making. It organises events and mentoring programmes to support the next generation of women leaders. It identifies barriers to women and girls when it comes to education, from childcare to transport, and works with partners to tackle these.

Bringing together women from across the world of business in Bristol, the Women in Business task group explores the issues for women in the workplace and works together to address these. From the gender pay gap and representation at senior levels to exploring flexible working options. The task group founded the Bristol Women in Business Charter and helped it grow to become an independent Community Interest Company in 2020. The Charter is represented on, and still works closely with the Commission attracting more signatories each year – all committing to taking tangible steps to improve things for women in the workplace.

key Achievements

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If you’re a member of the press, a politician or local leader who wants to find out more about BWC’s work, please email: bwcommission@gmail.com