Keeping up the momentum after International Women’s Day

InternationalWomensDay-portraitInternational Women’s Day is a fantastic day for celebration, campaigning and catalytic change. I’ve had an inspiring day, collecting sanitary products for organisations such as Bloody Good Period and Foodbanks, eating feminist cakes (such as these brilliant ‘simply the breast’ and ‘cupcats’ and reading about inspirational women; celebrating them for everything they have done and continue to do for women worldwide.

I’ve put together some ideas of ways you can continue to support women after this International Women’s Day.

Support, Protect and Fight

Women’s Centres and refuges are shutting down across the UK, women only services are disproportionately affected by the government cuts. Find your local service and strive to protect it. Whether that’s fundraising, volunteering your time, or becoming a regular donor, these small organisations will really appreciate your support.

Live in London; why not support the West Hampstead Women’s Centre?

Let’s get political

The Suffragettes would’ve never made headway without the Suffragists also campaigning and creating change in the way that they believed in. If you feel enthused by your International Women’s Day activities then why not join the Women’s Equality Party? They’ve also just started their new campaign, Feminism 5.0 #FifthWave – sign up now to hear more about it. Already a member of a political party? Well, chances are they have a gender problem, so why not create change within the party?

Or want to stay out of political parties? The Fawcett Society are still continuing the great work of the brilliant suffragist, Millicent Fawcett, so why not become a member?

Listen, React, Share

Listen to other women, hear those diverse voices. If they need something from you, react to it, embrace it. See something that inspires you, enrages you, and warms your angry feminist heart? Share it, create conversation, don’t be a bystander. Be inclusive, not exclusive and check your privilege every day.

Feminist Media

Support independent feminist media, maybe become part of the Beehive and subscribe to Bitch magazine? Art has always been a place of revolution, of change, a space to fight, to shout and to be heard. Support and share feminist art; from Pussy Riot to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; don’t be afraid to stand for the rights of all women and always be assured there will always be a collective to protect you from the trolls.

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Charity Sector

Charity WomenIf you work in the charity sector and would like to fight the existing inequalities in the sector (you can read my blog about it here) then I would recommend joining Charity Women and be a force for change.

There’s so much more you can do, from clicktivism to pounding the pavement, find what works for you. Women have been written out of history, only occupying around 0.5% of recorded history, let’s not allow that erasure to continue.

 

 

 

Where are all the women? Charity women and the Women’s Equality Party Conference

On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration into one of the most powerful houses in the world, I felt it was apt to share this blog I wrote for Flow Caritas after they kindly sponsored my place to attend the inaugural Women’s Equality Party Conference in November 2016.

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Being a woman in the charity sector you often take for granted what an amazing experience it is being in a room with hundreds of incredible women. On Friday 25 November I was sat in a cavernous warehouse for the inaugural Women’s Equality Party Conference surrounded by over 1,500 women and men who are passionate and dedicated about revolutionary change to our everyday lives.

The evening kicked off with resounding music and incredibly inspirational speakers; including Leader of the Party, Sophie Walker and the two co-founders Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig. What excited me the most, however, was the chair of the evening, the indomitable Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London.
Not only has Jude Kelly been an inspiration for women in the arts but also women in the Charity Sector.

Charity Women

I attended the Conference with Lizzi Hollis as part of Charity Women, a new group set up to tackle the existing inequalities for women in the third sector.

An inequality that many don’t see or admit exists. Two-thirds of the voluntary sector is made up of women (according to NCVO) but senior positions are still heavily dominated by men in the sector – nearly a fifth of males were working at Director/CEO level compared to just under a tenth for women.

We ran a fringe session with a number of women who currently work in the charity sector; some were senior consultants, others had just started their journey in small to large charities. What became abundantly clear was there is a dearth of female role models at senior positions within the sector.

There was fantastic energy in the room and definitely the will to change the status quo through positive action and the Charity Women group was definitely the best place for this.

We agreed that a toolkit was needed, so women at all levels within the sector, no matter how small or large the organisation is, have the tools and confidence needed to make positive change.

As a sector, we work so tirelessly to change the world to make it a better place for the beneficiaries we work so hard to support. We often forget to look inwards to adopt the changes that can make the workplace a better environment for all.

Take part

If you feel passionate about tackling the inequalities in the charity sector, whether that’s more women in Trustee positions, raising awareness of the incredible role models we already have in the sector or you would like to mentor other women in the sector. Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

A huge thank you to Flow Caritas for making it possible for me and Lizzi to attend the Conference, we left feeling inspired and determined to make the sector fairer for all.

Diversity in Fundraising

TPP Recruitment have just released their 2016 ‘Charity Fundraising Salary Survey’ and I find myself reminded that we’re still not there yet in terms of diversity within the profession.

Back in 2013, the Institute of Fundraising released a report on ‘Diversity in the fundraising profession’ and one of the main findings was that fundraising was a profession that was less diverse than the general workforce of the voluntary sector.

It’s a shame that the people who dedicate their careers to raising money for causes that seek to change the world and make it better for people (and animals), has a problem with diversity. It begs the question, what are organisations doing to ensure diversity not just organisation-wide but also within teams?

I know from my volunteer experiences that teams that reflect all parts of society are more innovative, reflective, constructive and generally more successful.

We can be pleased that the gender pay gap is narrowing with female fundraisers now earning 12% less compared to 20% in 2015. However, a profession that is heavily dominated by women, around 74% of fundraisers are women, it is striking that the gender pay gap exists. This is further accentuated as seniority increases. Nearly a fifth of males were working at Director/CEO level compared to just under a tenth for women.  So in a profession dominated by women, men are more likely to climb the ranks and secure those top level positions.

Gender

Interestingly the gender pay gap increases with seniority, with male counterparts likely to earn around £5,000 more per year.

More gender

It’s unsurprising that the Fundraising Magazine’s annual 50 Most Influential list for 2016 had 34 men listed, and if I remember correctly this number isn’t particularly changing from previous years. I’m not disparaging the work of the men on the list, but it would be nice to see a bit more diversity in future.

I couldn’t find stats anywhere regarding trans* people in the fundraising profession, I, therefore, think it’s safe to say that trans* people are massively underrepresented within the fundraising profession. I’m not sure the survey questions are even open for people who do not identify with male or female and therefore they would be unrepresented within the report.

As a profession and generally as a sector, we’re never going to be able to change the world and create meaningful change until we look inwards and see what we need to do to create change and diversity within our own workforces. The third sector needs to lead the way, not follow behind, dragging our heels, refusing to pick up the pace.

The stats released regarding ethnicity, disability and sexuality are not surprising either. It’s no surprise that people with a disability are more likely to work for charities that have disability support and rights at the heart of their cause. Similarly, for ethnicity and sexuality; it can’t be a shock that charities campaigning for change and respect in those areas find it particularly easy to attract, recruit and retain employees who identify with the cause. If you go to any charity under the umbrella of ‘women’s causes’ you will see a larger percentage of women employed and in all levels of seniority. We all deep down, as fundraisers, want to help in our day to day lives the charity that has helped us the most.

It is everyone’s responsibility to keep pushing change, to ensure that as fundraisers we are representative of ALL the beneficiaries that our collective charities help (I’m not saying we should look to hire dogs, cats and pandas anytime soon).

Stats taken from

Institute of Fundraising ‘Diversity in the Fundraising Profession’ 2013

TPP Recruitment ‘Charity Fundraising Salary Survey’ 2016

On 5 May I pledge to give half my votes to equality

Sandi Toksvig and the Women’s Equality Party have asked me nicely through this very cute Suffragette animation to pledge to give half my votes to equality.

As a proud member of the Women’s Equality Party, this is my pledge to say, YES! I will pledge to give half my votes to the Women’s Equality Party and for a fairer London for all.

**Cover photo taken from Women’s Equality Party video with drawing and animation from Jacky Flemming**

Trustee Week: Why everyone should be a Trustee

This Trustees Week I thought I would reflect on my 18 months as a Trustee at the West Hampstead Women’s Centre and explain why I think everyone should be a Trustee.

The West Hampstead Women’s Centre is a bright gem in the centre of the borough of Camden and has been doing amazing work for over 30 years. The Centre provides holistic services for women; dealing with mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. The Centre is one of the safest places I have ever visited, from the way it’s decorated to the smiling faces of the volunteers, to the atmosphere itself; it creates a feeling of welcoming and beginning.

The Centre is incredibly unique in London; it is one of the few women-only centres left, who serves women of all cultures and ages. We offer over 21 different services from cancer support groups to NVQ and Employment Support to Pilates,osteopathy and CAB Outreach.

I was first drawn to the Centre when I saw their ethos of ‘Supporting all women under one roof’ this inclusive message really struck me and I was intrigued to see what happened behind those doors to support some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged women in my community.

“I walked through the doors in my hour of need and was given a lifeline.” West Hampstead Women’s Centre, Service User

The Centre is run by a phenomenal woman, Rukhsana Chishti, who has done a brilliant job at keeping the Centre running through tough times and good in the past couple of decades. The Centre is run by an amazing number of volunteers,over 70, who ensure our services and helpdesk remain open Monday to Friday.

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The Trustee board are an incredibly likeable and diverse range of women who all share the commitment to making the Centre a safe, friendly, welcoming space for women whilst providing much-needed care and support.

My time as a Trustee has been incredible, I have learnt so much from the people around me and it’s been fantastic seeing the Centre flourish and grow. With the cuts on their way across the Camden Borough, now is the time for the Trustees to really look to how we can protect the Centre and ensure its 30-year legacy continues for the future generation of girls and women who need the Centre.

It is in tough times that you are reminded how important your role as Trustee is and the responsibility you have to ensure that your service continues and your beneficiaries are supported.

I can’t wait for our Festive Celebration this December where I will see a number of women graduate with their NVQs and I can join all the women of the Centre from service user to volunteer to celebrate the amazing work in 2015 and the year ahead.

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If you live in North London please do consider becoming a member of the Centre (only £6), it has amazing services and you certainly won’t regret it. And it would be remiss of me not to mention donating to the Centre or if you’re looking for a new volunteering opportunity, take a look here.

And for any talented community fundraisers out there, if you fancy offering me some pro-bono advice on how to continue raising money for the Centre I would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, I cannot say enough that everyone should become a Trustee, no matter your age. You will get out of it as much as you put in, and there are small charities all over the UK that could hugely benefit from your expertise (especially if you’re a fundraiser). So get out and do, help make a difference in your local community.

 

Event fundraising: getting the concept right

Exactly one month ago I took part in Refuge’s Walk4 and I was reminded how important it was to not only have an event that was engaging but a concept that participants could get behind.

The concept around Walk4 was brilliant and incredibly thought-provoking. Walk4 Refuge because 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence. We crossed four of London’s most iconic bridges (Tower Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Millennium Bridge and Westminster Bridge), and whilst doing so supported Refuge to provide vital services that will keep women and children safe, whilst working with them to rebuild their lives, free from violence and fear.

Walk4

Walk4 put at the forefront of everyone’s minds that shocking statistic of 1 in 4 women and a very visual reminder by walking over four of the most iconic bridges in London.

Walk4 became not just a great fundraising event but additionally became a solidarity march, on that day we were there as participants, survivors, allies, fundraisers, and activists.

Participants were well looked after all the way through, from a very cheery welcome to great marshals along the route cheering you along, to a lovely reception at the end; where you were greeted with a smiley face, free drink, and a goodie bag.

Refuge got the whole day spot on and that’s in the most part due to their amazing staff team; hats off.

I hope that Refuge raised a great deal amount of money to help them continue their vital work. I look forward to the Walk next year and I really can imagine it will grow into something huge.

If you want to make a donation to Refuge, here’s my fundraising page.