Five pioneering organisations pushing for gender equality
Sunday 8th March is International Women's Day 2020. Here, we're recognising five of our women-led grantees pushing for change and working towards an equal world.
Kath Moore, Women Into Construction
Kath is Managing Director of Women Into Construction who support women wanting to work in the construction industry and construction companies wishing to increase gender diversity.
Coming from a construction background, she has experienced the excitement and job satisfaction that working in the industry brings, as well as the difficulties women face in gaining employment and progressing in their careers.
One thing Kath would change to reach equality?
“Unfortunately, it will take more than one thing to reach equality! I would like to see more recognition of caring responsibilities as not necessarily gender-specific, and more support given to both men and women to participate in these through interventions, such as flexible working.”
Rubenna Aurangzeb-Tariq, Deaf Ethnic Women’s Association
Rubbena chairs Deaf Ethnic Women’s Association (DEWA). The organisation supports and encourages Deaf ethnic women to become more independent and confident, both in themselves and in engaging with their community.
Rubbena recognises that as British Sign Language (BSL) users, many of DEWA’s members struggle and fight hard to communicate, facing many communication barriers especially concerning additional cultural differences and this drives her to provide suitable support.
One thing Rubbena would change to reach equality?
“To see more Deaf ethnic women becoming positive role models, succeeding in their career of choice, accessing higher levels of education and qualifications and leading to fair and equal pay. Ultimately, I want members of DEWA to feel empowered to take control of their own life.”
Marissa Begonia, the Voice of Domestic Workers
Marissa is a founding member of the Voice of Domestic Workers (VODW), a self-help group run by and for migrant domestic workers campaigning for their rights and welfare in the UK.
Domestic work remains hidden, isolated and unrecognised. It is a highly feminised sector: 80% of all domestic workers are women. Marissa sees organising migrant domestic workers to be at the front-line of advocacy and campaigning as key, and the organisation strives to build confidence and empower domestic workers to be the voice of their own rights.
One thing Marissa would change to reach equality?
“The Overseas Domestic Worker Visa is an immigration category policy that recognised UK as a world leader in protecting the most vulnerable group of workers. In 2012, the UK Government made changes and VODW have been campaigning actively to restore these rights - domestic work is work, domestic workers are workers. We should be protected as other workers, even if we are migrants.”
Clarice Wamba, Exercise for Everyone
Clarice is passionate about inclusion, and set up the charity Exercise for Everyone to create a safe place for the people of Bromley to come together at exercise and well-being classes to feel good, no matter what they may be experiencing in life.
She has felt the power of exercise first-hand after coming to the UK as a single parent with PTSD and no support, before taking up running where she found her passion. She particularly wants women to feel empowered and value the contribution they make to society.
One thing Clarice would change to reach equality?
“Women’s rights are improving, however for the most marginalised in our communities, this is not felt yet. It is this kind of focused wellbeing that’s needed most. It will lift an otherwise difficult day or week and make it easier for those who need it most.”
Luljeta Nuzi, Shpresa Programme
Luljeta runs the user-led programme Shpresa working with Albanian speaking refugees and migrants to provide advice, education and training. Their tailored women’s project supports women to build a new life in which they feel safe to be full and active citizens.
From Luljeta’s own experience, she understands how hard it is when you move to a new country, not knowing English or how the systems work whilst also not having anyone to talk to, having left behind those you know. Shpresa becomes that organisation to turn to.
One thing Luljeta would change to reach equality?
“Sorry, I have many more than just one! All asylum seekers should be treated with dignity and have the right to work, all women facing DV should have the right to be safe and access the refuge, regardless of immigration status, and no women facing heath issues, including having a baby, should be denied the health service.”