The Chief Executive of Chwarae Teg has today (4.4.19) called for greater consideration of gender equality in regional skills policy while giving evidence to the National Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee. Cerys Furlong said that Regional Skills Partnerships should make tackling inequality a priority at the committee hearing.
With a growing focus on regional economic development from Welsh Government and increased responsibility for Regional Skills Partnerships in supporting this, Cerys Furlong argued that gender equality should be considered a key element of their work. Recent research from Chwarae Teg has shown that full gender equality could add almost £14bn to the Welsh economy by 2028 and the charity believes that Regional Skills Partnerships (RSPs) can play a crucial role in realising this potential by mainstreaming gender throughout their work.
Following the committee hearing, Chwarae Teg chief executive, Cerys Furlong, said :
“To achieve gender equality in Wales we need all actors – government, businesses and sponsored bodies – to work together to tackle the causes of inequality and ensure that everyone can reach their full potential.
“In order to play their part Regional Skills Partnerships need to ensure there is a real gender balance at the heart of their own governance and leadership structures. Diversity and gender balance is proven to lead to better decision making due to a broader spectrum of opinions, priorities and experiences.
“Regional Skills Partnerships must recognise that addressing inequality is central to their work and they must work to actively tackle inequality in their local and regional areas. A greater use of disaggregated data to understand inequalities within their regions can help. We need adequate data to understand which sectors and roles women are working in in different parts of Wales and how they are accessing skills provision, if effective interventions are to be made.
“With the increased focus on the foundational economy in the Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan we must ensure that the gendered aspects of this part of the economy are recognised. For example, in the care and food and drink industries women often make up the majority of the workforce but pay and progression opportunities are poor. Regional Skills Partnerships have an important role to play in diversifying these sectors and supporting the development of new progression pathways.
“The Committee’s inquiry comes at an important stage, as Wales develops a new approach to economic development and skills provision in Wales. By mainstreaming gender equality throughout their work RSPs can play a vital role in making Welsh Government’s ambition to be a world leader in gender equality a reality.
“We cannot afford to leave women behind in any part of Wales. Chwarae Teg is pleased to be feeding into this inquiry, we want to see action across the nation to tackle inequality and ensure that our economy can thrive.”