Why Don't Women Help to Run Wales? One in Four Women Suffers Domestic Violence, Yet 30 Years after Sex Equality Laws Were Introduced, Few of Them Occupy the Seats of Power Where They Could Formulate Policies That Would Make a Difference. Ian Parri Reports

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), March 14, 2006 | Go to article overview

Why Don't Women Help to Run Wales? One in Four Women Suffers Domestic Violence, Yet 30 Years after Sex Equality Laws Were Introduced, Few of Them Occupy the Seats of Power Where They Could Formulate Policies That Would Make a Difference. Ian Parri Reports


Byline: Ian Parri

THE Equal Opportunities Commission Wales in conjunction with the Wales Women's National Coalition (WWNC) has just issued an updated 2006 version of its Who Runs Wales? report, first published two years ago.

It concludes that very little progress has been made in getting more women into the corridors of power.

There's been much tub-thumping in the Senedd about its unique 50:50 gender split, but elsewhere in Welsh public life women are still very much second class citizens.

Jane Davidson shines as education minister among several other women at the cabinet table in Cardiff Bay, but none of the party leaders is a woman. And, in local authorities up and down the country, there are only 24 females on county council cabinets throughout Wales.

The report welcomes the doubling in the number of women MPs from four to eight -out of 40 - but points out that there's been little change elsewhere. There are no female chairs of police authorities or university vice-chancellors, while 1 only 9% of local authority chief I executives, 18% of council leaders and 22% of councillors are women.

Kate Bennett, director of EOC Wales, says that it wouldn't be just women who'd benefit from having more girl power.

"Research from around the world shows that where women are marginalised and excluded from the corridors of power, bad and ineffective decisions are taken. Most public spending on domestic violence, for example, is devoted to catching, prosecuting and imprisoning men, but very little on prevention or supporting women and children at risk.

"More women in positions of power will transform our public services so that they genuinely meet everybody's needs."

The report points out that one in four women will experience violence in the home, while two women were killed every week in the UK last year by their partners or ex-partners. The cost of prosecuting every murder is at least pounds 1m.

WWNC manager Joyce Watson warns that women's issues will remain unheard while they find themselves locked out of positions of power.

"Public spending is the key to delivering local services that improve women's lives, yet women are denied key opportunities to hold power in the real areas of influence," she says. …

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Why Don't Women Help to Run Wales? One in Four Women Suffers Domestic Violence, Yet 30 Years after Sex Equality Laws Were Introduced, Few of Them Occupy the Seats of Power Where They Could Formulate Policies That Would Make a Difference. Ian Parri Reports
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