Wales’ leading gender equality charity, Chwarae Teg, is calling for a renewed focus from government, business and civil society to tackle the causes of gender inequality.
In its annual State of the Nation report, published today (7/02/22), Chwarae Teg outlines Wales’ progress towards becoming a gender equal nation and explores the experiences of women in the economy, their representation and those at risk.
The data set out in State of the Nation reveals a frustrating picture of gender equality in Wales. While we are becoming a more equal nation in some areas, against too many indicators we are making little to no progress. Wales’ gender pay gap has increased to 12.3% this year, only 29% of councillors are women, and only 28% of women in Wales feel safe walking alone in the dark.
More women aged 16-24 are now in work when compared to men, this contrasts, however, with an overall increase in unemployment amongst women, with women from an ethnic minority being particularly affected. 6.7% of women from an ethnic minority are currently unemployed, an increase of 2.4% on last year. This compares to an increase of just 0.4% to unemployment rates amongst white women to an overall rate of 3.8%.
Although elections to the Senedd in May 2021 saw the first woman of colour elected to Wales’ parliament – something long overdue – women’s representation at all levels of government remains stubbornly fragile and unequal. Time will tell whether we will see an increase in the representation of women at local authority level in the upcoming elections in May.
State of the Nation 2022 also brings into sharp focus the fact that women experience harassment, sexual violence, and domestic abuse-related crimes at a higher rate than men. 73% of all victims of domestic abuse-related crimes in Wales and England are women with 53% of all violence against women offences recorded being domestic abuse-related.
This year’s data exposes, once more, how characteristics such as gender, race, sexuality, disability, class, age and faith can interact and produce often multiple experiences of disadvantage. In order to create a more equal Wales, we need to focus on the most marginalised first; the women who face the greatest barriers and disadvantage.
Chwarae Teg’s Chief Executive, Cerys Furlong, and Research Partner, Dr Hade Turkmen, will be joined by Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt MS to discuss this year’s key findings in a webinar for stakeholders later today.