Our core activities currently focus on three areas:
1. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
On 8 March 2014 – International Women’s Day – the government published its policy and action plan A Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls, in which the Home Office sets out its achievements in this area to date, and how it plans to tackle the serious challenges that mean that domestic abuse in some form is still being experienced by 1 in 3 women. Women’s Aid welcomed the action plan, but warned that it would fail unless dramatic cuts to funding faced by domestic violence services across the UK are addressed.
Support your local refuge
Domestic violence services in Leicester and Leicestershire are in crisis due to swingeing cuts in funding. The City’s refuge receives no financial support from the public purse, and all funding for County services ends in March 2015. Drastic action is needed to protect these vital specialist services and you can help. Support Women’s Aid Leicestershire by becoming an ‘Angel’ and donating vital funds to help meet running costs for their refuges, or give through their ‘Save Your Refuge’ campaign. ACT NOW, before it’s too late.
Female Genital Mutilation
On 2 March 2014 we held a speaker event on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), in collaboration with Leicester Secular Society, with representatives from EVA Organization for Women and the Leicestershire Police domestic abuse team. This horrific abuse is happening in our communities and little is being done to stop it. There are organisations who offer help to women and girls who have suffered FGM abuse, but we need to stop it before it happens. An increase in media coverage in recent months has raised awareness of FGM, but we need the government to take legislative action and local police forces to dramatically increase prosecution rates.
SIGN THE E-PETITION NOW to stop FGM in the UK.
Mandatory education on gender equality and abuse in relationships
We wrote to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to express our concerns about the continuing rise in violence against women and girls and to ask the Government to introduce education on gender equality and abuse within relationships into secondary schools, as a means of raising awareness amongst young people and tackling negative attitudes at an early age before negative behaviour becomes ingrained.
READ OUR LETTER – Letter to Prime Minister re violence against women
READ THE RESPONSE – Response from Elizabeth Truss MP
A Leicestershire Fawcett Group member also spoke on this subject at an International Women’s Day (2013) event in the city, generating interest from the local NUT and Trades Council branches who wish to collaborate with the Group on work in this area.
2. OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN & GIRLS
We are currently undertaking a study of local retailers to find out if they stock lads’ mags and, if so, how are they displayed. Research shows a clear link between lads’ mags and negative attitudes to women and girls and the Leicestershire Fawcett Group supports the national campaign, Lose the Lads’ Mags, which is calling on retailers to stop selling these degrading and harmful publications.
The good news is that the Co-operative supermarket has announced it will no longer stock Nuts, Zoo and Front, but we need to put pressure on other major retailers to follow suit. On 15 October 2013, Caroline Lucas MP hosted an event at the House of Commons, organised by UK Feminista and Object, to discuss this important issue: Leicestershire Fawcett Group urged Jon Ashworth MP (Leicester South) to attend this event.
Channel 4 News report on the Co-op’s ultimatum to lads’ mags publishers
Association of Convenience Stores, Display of Lads’ Mags Best Practice Advice
Indecent Publications in Newsagents – House of Commons Library, June 2013
3. IMPACT OF AUSTERITY MEASURES ON WOMEN
We have held a number of events focusing on this subject, with speakers from a range of organisations including local government and the voluntary sector. Our 2013 AGM focused on the impact of austerity measures on the lives of women and girls in Leicester and Leicestershire, in particular the rise of food banks, and we were thrilled to welcome Baroness Ruth Lister as our keynote speaker at the event.
We are also participating in a study on local food banks, as part of our involvement with the new LeicesterShire Women’s Forum. Other Forum members include Women’s Aid and New Dawn New Day, whose clients are facing increasing hardship due to the significant changes in housing benefit and other welfare reforms.
Leicestershire Fawcett Group prepared a Response to Leicestershire County Council’s Single Equalities Action Plan 2012/13 and Community Cohesion Framework 2012/13
Download our Response to this consultation as a Word document