Today is International Women’s Day, and Cat Glew, our Women’s Strategy Manager, celebrates the first anniversary of our Women’s Strategy, and shares details of our exciting projects for the year ahead.
Today, on Sunday 8 March 2020, the world is celebrating International Women’s Day – and St Mungo’s is celebrating the first birthday of our Women’s Strategy!
A lot has changed in 12 months at St Mungo’s and beyond. Across the world and in our services, women are facing challenges to their rights and their safety that we can’t ignore.
The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has published a new Gender Social Norms Index warning that progress towards gender equality is slowing worldwide. Nearly nine in 10 people across the world hold some bias against women.
The data showed that half of men and women think that men make better political leaders, and four in 10 think men make better business executives. Twenty-eight per cent of people think it is justified for a man to beat his wife.
Progress is possible, even if it does feel far too slow. Last week saw the return of the Domestic Abuse Bill to Parliament, more than two years since it was first introduced. Along with the commitments to tackle rough sleeping made by the Government, the new bill offers a once in a generation opportunity to make sure the voices of women who are homeless and sleeping rough are heard by those in power.
What’s changed since the launch of our Women’s Strategy
It has never been more important to build alliances and partnerships with women’s organisations so that our clients can have access to the specialist support they deserve. This year, we were delighted to be awarded funding from the Homeless Link Ending Women’s Homelessness Fund for a partnership project led by Standing Together Against Domestic Violence.
The Safety by Experience project will develop bespoke tools for homelessness services working to end violence against women. We’ll be working with clients to ask what safety advice they would give other women in homelessness settings, and with staff to create tools that fit our services much better.
We’ve also made progress towards our Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance accreditation this year. We’ve got new domestic abuse training and e-learning available for staff, along with an updated domestic abuse policy, quick guide, posters and leaflets.
The Women’s Strategy work has focussed this year on our core challenge – creating an environment of physical and emotional safety for women, who are at disproportionate risk of harm from those they love and trust. But as the strategy enters its second year, it’s also time for a positive celebration of the strength and resilience of our female clients and women’s services.