Promoting and Defending Women only spaces


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  • Show ESW Film
    Have guidance notes (based on EHRC/ GEO information) to hand for reference only
    We felt there was a need to put the Equality Act implementation into the wider policy context and relate it to the concept of the Big Society.
  • Increasingly referred to as the PSED:
    Applies to public bodies listed in Schedule 19 of the Act
    Specific Duties: Public bodies will be required to:
    publish ‘specific and measurable’ equality objectives by 6 April 2012, then every four years;
    publish information at least annually to demonstrate their compliance with the general Equality Duty
    relating to their employees (for bodies with 150 or more staff) and
    others affected by their policies and practices - such as service users.
    Information must be accessible to the public (but) can be included within another published document.
  • EMPHASISE THE POSITIVES IN THIS – Public bodies need to do these things. Need to promote the idea that publishing makes their life much easier.
    We suggest later that individuals and groups should consider using the Freedom of Information Act provisions to access this data if it isn’t published.
    If this shows poor practice, challenges could be made either
    because they have not carried out the duties to understand/engage with specified groups/ consider the impact, or
    because they have not fulfilled the requirements of the PSED having undertaken this exercise.
    Public sector bodies are also subject to the wider framework of Equality legislation within the Act. The Public Duty is only part of their legal obligations.
  • United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Quick Start guides are very straightforward, basic and broad brush and indicate the areas in which the law has changed from 1st October in relation to each of the protected characteristics.
    Non-statutory guidance aimed at ‘the person in the street’ and stakeholders and practitioners who do not have an organisational responsibility to interpret the legal technicalities.
    Statutory Codes of Practice - for those who have a legal role.
    Specific Duties – anticipated they will be published early in 2011
    Explanatory notes go through the Act clause by clause and are useful in ‘decoding’ legal language of the Act itself.
  • Promoting and Defending Women only spaces

    1. 1. No excuse for abuse- Cornwall Promoting and defending Women-Only Spaces Brenda Weston – Policy and Research
    2. 2. Introductions • Name • Organisation (if relevant) • What would you like to get from the workshop?
    3. 3. Why women only spaces? • Find a partner to work with • Agree and note arguments for women-only spaces/services (5 mins) • Feedback key points (10 mins)
    4. 4. What support is there for these arguments? • Equality Act 2010 – Public Sector Equality Duty – Positive Action • Public Law • The Compact (local/national) • CEDAW
    5. 5. Public Sector Equality Duty “… requires public bodies, and others who exercise public functions, to have due regard to the need to    eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity; and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not share it.”
    6. 6. ‘Due regard’ and Equality data Under the requirements of the general duty to have ‘due regard’ to the matters set out in the Act • “public bodies will need to understand the effect of their policies and practices on equality… • this will involve looking at evidence, engaging with … staff, service users and others and… • considering the effect of what they do on the whole community”. (Quoted from: Equality Act 2010: The public sector Equality Duty: reducing bureaucracy)
    7. 7. Positive Action provisions • Positive action is lawful under the Equality Act (positive discrimination is not) • The Equality Act does not mean that both sexes should be treated the same • Single-sex services are permitted where evidence is that it is needed • Case law: in certain contexts it is still legal and appropriate for public authorities to fund (and provide) women-only services • Positive action is discretionary – not mandatory
    8. 8. Public Law In summary, public bodies must • Act lawfully • Act fairly and • Decisions must not be perverse or irrational e.g. – Should not be based on irrelevant information or ignore relevant information – Decisions that ‘flew in the face of the evidence’ have been found by courts to be irrational
    9. 9. CEDAW • United Nations – aka ‘Women’s International Bill of Human Rights’ • Places obligations on UK gov and all public bodies to fully implement it to achieve equality between women and men – includes positive action • Policies, services, strategies and initiatives must recognise and respond effectively to the different needs of women and men – can include women-only services • Convention is legally binding under international law
    10. 10. For full guidance... women-only services: making the case A guide for women’s organisations aking_the_case_for_women_only_july_2011.pdf