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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Birmingham Council Chambers was the host of the first Midlands Women Leaders Coalition Meeting. Women Networking Hub led the women leaders for the timely debate, to address gender inequality in employment, political and civic participation- the role of women today, education and training and all issues impacting violence against women. It was no secret, the chambers held a strong vocal presence, women who want to make a difference.

The priorities were clear, much of the work needed to be sustained in the current economic climate. I reflected whilst sitting with peers across the table, some tired, some frustrated on the lack of progress from the Government on devolving the Women National Commission. 

The ex commissioners present wanted to seek support to create task forces to ensure the work on Violence Against Women was not hidden under policy documents and still required our attention and action.

I wanted assurance the work undertaken, skills and expertise were not dissolved to restart policy developments & work programmes. A coalition can only succeed if women collectively work together on crucial women priorities and agendas. There was a need to look at the gender disparities in employment and the adverse effect of the public sector potential cuts impacting these women. The need to ensure health and well being from women and new migrant communities also was an interest, addressing poverty and social exclusion was a topic of great debate amongst union representatives. 

The importance of sharing whilst understanding how we sustain partnerships was clear; a mandate was required. Trade Unions are hosting numerous women lobbying events. The coalition seek support from the selective leaders who were in attendance- 30 in total.

Only when we take the view supporting women on their basic human rights, equality, fairness and justice, I wanted more than agreements and protocols, women leaders must start to transfer skills and unite in force, the mentor approach with young females to take accountability and leadership roles, hence actively campaign on issues that matter to them. 

Growing this kind of progressive women movement with endorsement from a cross selection political party female candidates can and will work under my leadership. As friends gather, professionals, and peers the work is not a barrier, our mind set needs to focus on what our history has taught us, do not wait for change, make it happen. 

The regional Midlands collective voice is meeting over the next few months to review the political disconnected, how affiliated bodies can work together, feedback the results of the online survey in detail. Further information get in touch with the Women Leaders Coalition and the Women Networking Hub.

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