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The state of the women's sector in the North East


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A presentation by Sue Robson, Associate Researcher at WRC, to the Women's National Commission Conference (Nov 2009), in which she looks at trends in funding to North East women's organisations and the impacts on services for women.

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The state of the women's sector in the North East

  1. 1. NEWomen’s Network Strengthening the Women’s Sector in the North East Another year on…
  2. 2. Outline of Presentation <ul><li>Who we are and why we are here </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s inequality in the NE </li></ul><ul><li>The health of the NE Women’s Sector </li></ul><ul><li>What we want to do about it </li></ul><ul><li>Current situation </li></ul><ul><li>Next steps </li></ul>
  3. 3. Who we are <ul><li>Network of women’s voluntary sector organisations & women’s community groups across the North East </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why we are here <ul><li>To strengthen the women’s sector and ensure survival of women’s organisations and groups </li></ul>
  5. 5. Women’s inequality in he North East <ul><li>National gap between men and women’s pay is 22%, in some parts of the NE it is 35% </li></ul><ul><li>17.6% of in higher and professional levels and 24.2% of men (compared with 37% & 40% nationally) </li></ul><ul><li>Increase in female activity rates in NE, yet GVA declining </li></ul>
  6. 6. Women’s inequality in the North East <ul><li>Women without qualifications in some parts of the region is higher than the National average (25% compared to 19%) </li></ul><ul><li>4.4% of women are self-employed, the lowest regional level in the country, as compared to national average of 7.2% </li></ul>
  7. 7. Women’s inequality in the North East <ul><li>21% of women of working age in Hartlepool have a limiting long-term illness compared with 14% nationally </li></ul><ul><li>In some parts of NE incidents of DV higher than both burglary and robbery </li></ul><ul><li>1 BME woman councillor no MPs(168 & 2 nationally) </li></ul>
  8. 8. The women’s sector in the North East <ul><li>Women in the NE are disproportionately disadvantaged compared to nationally </li></ul><ul><li>Yet there are less women’s groups in the North East than in any other region in the UK </li></ul><ul><li>( Not just bread, but roses too , Women’s Resource Centre 2009) </li></ul>
  9. 9. What women’s orgs do <ul><li>Women’s sector organisations approach women issues in a holistic way by seeking to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seeking to empower women individually and collectively to identify their own solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improving the position of women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eliminating gendered inequality </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. Women’s Sector in the North East (2008) <ul><li>72% provide advice and information </li></ul><ul><li>49% provide advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>44% campaign </li></ul><ul><li>40% do group work </li></ul><ul><li>39% provide services </li></ul><ul><li>21% provide counselling </li></ul><ul><li>18% do research </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>The health of the women’s sector in the North East (2009) </li></ul>
  12. 13. Survey responses <ul><li>31% Tyne & Wear </li></ul><ul><li>22% Northumberland </li></ul><ul><li>14% Tees Valley </li></ul><ul><li>14% Durham </li></ul><ul><li>17% regional </li></ul><ul><li>3% national </li></ul>
  13. 14. Survey responses <ul><li>56% BME women </li></ul><ul><li>44% older women </li></ul><ul><li>37% young women </li></ul><ul><li>37% Lbi women </li></ul><ul><li>33% disabled women </li></ul><ul><li>26% Faith </li></ul>
  14. 15. Levels of funding last 12 months <ul><li>42% decreased </li></ul><ul><li>39% stayed the same </li></ul><ul><li>19% increased </li></ul>
  15. 16. Levels of funding (young women) <ul><li>60% Decreased </li></ul><ul><li>20% stayed the same </li></ul><ul><li>20% increased </li></ul>
  16. 17. Staffing levels <ul><li>43% stayed the same </li></ul><ul><li>24% don’t employ staff </li></ul><ul><li>20% have less staff </li></ul><ul><li>13% have more staff </li></ul>
  17. 18. Impacts of cuts <ul><li>71% less resources </li></ul><ul><li>47% less campaigning </li></ul><ul><li>33% less research </li></ul><ul><li>19% less women only space </li></ul><ul><li>14% less women only services </li></ul>
  18. 19. Impacts of cuts (BME women) <ul><li>88% less provision and resources for women </li></ul>
  19. 20. Causes of funding cuts <ul><li>63% women’s issues not a priority </li></ul><ul><li>59% less grants </li></ul><ul><li>52% lack of local govt support </li></ul><ul><li>48% women not targeted in LAAs </li></ul>
  20. 21. Causes (BME women) <ul><li>86% women’s issues not a priority for funders </li></ul><ul><li>71% less grants available from charities </li></ul>
  21. 22. Casualties <ul><li>Durham initiative for girls and young women </li></ul><ul><li>Stockton International Family Centre (hosted several BME women’s groups) </li></ul><ul><li>Key women’s organisation in Northumberland ‘on brink of closure.’ </li></ul>
  22. 23. Survival for next 12 months <ul><li>54% will be here (46% BME/40% young women) </li></ul><ul><li>20% may not be here (30% BME/40% young women) </li></ul><ul><li>11% no/ don’t know </li></ul><ul><li>14% will be stronger (23%/20%) </li></ul>
  23. 24. <ul><li>What NEWomen’s Network want to do about it </li></ul>
  24. 25. Strategic Objectives <ul><li>Building partnership and collaboration between women’s organisations Campaigning for decision makers to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>acknowledge the systematic disadvantage women face because of gendered inequality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>recognise the essential services and expertise the women's sector provides </li></ul></ul>
  25. 26. Strategic Objectives <ul><li>Promote women’s sector role in tackling the root causes of women’s economic disadvantage </li></ul><ul><li>Developing a feminist culture within the women’s sector </li></ul><ul><li>Educating widely to promote gender equality </li></ul>
  26. 27. Current situation <ul><li>£70K in 2008 to around £6K 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>0.5FTE staff now 4 hours per month </li></ul><ul><li>Business Plan in place </li></ul><ul><li>Steering group meeting </li></ul><ul><li>Supported by Women’s Resource Centre ‘Stronger Together’ </li></ul><ul><li>Website, infomail, cafe </li></ul>
  27. 28. Next steps <ul><li>Strategic funding event (March 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthening the BME women’s sector (particularly in South of region) </li></ul><ul><li>Linking with Feminist Webs and network for work with young women and girls </li></ul>
  28. 29. NEWomen’s Network website <ul><li>http:// / </li></ul>
  29. 30. Women’s cafe <ul><li>http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul>