State of the Nation – One Year On

31st January 2020

Wales’ leading gender equality charity has warned that wide-ranging action is needed to tackle the prevalence of inequality in caring responsibilities, poverty, abuse and harassment faced by women in today’s society.

Chwarae Teg has highlighted its ongoing concerns and calls for action in its second State of the Nation report, launched in Newport.

While the research does demonstrate that there has been some positive progress, for instance, an increase in the representation of women, particularly within politics, there are dramatic inequalities in other areas and aspects of life for women.

The Gender Pay Gap has increased, women are still working for lower pay, in less secure sectors; they are under-represented in senior positions and dominate in part-time roles. There is a stark contrast in ‘caring responsibilities’ too with 28% of women stating this as the reason they are unable to work, compared to only 7.2% of men. The charity is therefore calling for more progress to reduce the burden on women, ensuring caring responsibilities are shared, and that women are able to progress in work.

The report makes clear that women’s experiences in the economy, women’s representation and the greater risk women face are all interconnected. Women’s position in the labour market leaves them at greater risk of abuse, financial hardship, poverty and social isolation. Also experiences of sexual harassment and abuse remain worryingly prevalent. This should not be a common experience for women, and more needs to be done to tackle the root causes to ensure women can live their lives free from harassment and abuse.

With this in mind, Chwarae Teg is concerned that without women’s voices in positions of power, particularly the voices of diverse women, these issues and experiences will not be highlighted and there will be no change in how decisions to tackle inequality are made.

Chwarae Teg’s vision is for Wales to become a world leader for gender equality; a place where all women, regardless of background, are able to achieve their potential. This is a shared vision, with Welsh Government committing to becoming a feminist Government, and more and more businesses and organisations recognising the value of equality and diversity.

“But good intentions must be followed up with action. Wales has made good progress, but there is a lot further to go before we achieve a truly level playing field.

“Chwarae Teg’s State of the Nation is an opportunity to reflect on this, and assess how we are progressing towards this shared vision of equality. It’s an opportunity to be honest with ourselves, to look at where we’re performing well, where we need to improve, and what action we need to take.

“This year’s report paints a mixed picture. While we’ve seen some progress in terms of women’s representation, figures aren’t reflecting a significant change to women’s experiences in work, or women’s risk of harassment, abuse and poverty. While statistics such as those included in our report are integral to measuring our progress, they can't tell us the full story. It's therefore crucial that we also hear the voices and experiences of diverse women to inform decision-making.

Cerys Furlong
Chief Executive, Chwarae Teg

Chwarae Teg’s report is an opportunity for us to take stock, assess Wales’ progress to achieving equality and continue our push towards being more ambitious in improving the lives of every woman and girl.

“Across Wales we’re undertaking a variety of work which promotes our commitment to creating a fairer society - where diversity is valued and respected and where people do not face discrimination and prejudice.

“Our Gender Equality Review has established a roadmap to advancing gender equality in the immediate, medium and long-term across all parts of Welsh Government; we’re undertaking research and working closely with stakeholders across Wales on strengthening and advancing equality and human rights; and we’ve committed to commencing the Socio-economic Duty requiring certain Welsh public bodies to consider how their strategic decisions might help to reduce the inequalities associated with socio-economic disadvantage.

“We have world-leading equalities legislation in place and progress has been made, but there is always more to do to ensure every person can flourish and fulfil their potential.

Jane Hutt
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip
28th Jan 2020
State of the Nation