Examples of our work

changes is working with Compact in Wolverhampton to consider how the Compact Equality Codes of Practice can be used smarter and more effectively to improve working practices that take account of different equality themes. Specifically, how can the Codes aid both sectors (VCS and Public Agencies) to work together better?

changes is also working with a range of equality groups in Dudley to consult on and refresh to Community Strategy on behalf of Dosti and the Strategic Partnership; to ensure that all stands of ‘equalities’ are incorporated into the local Community Strategy.

From 1998 to current day we have been working to encourage and support women to become more active in community and public life through using a community development approach; countering the notion of elevating a few women as community leaders to talk on behalf of others, engaging with civic structures as a token (and not necessarily particularly representative) voice for women. A key aim is to encourage women from a whole range of backgrounds to speak out and make their voices heard in whatever context is most appropriate and relevant to them.

changes was asked to present a paper to the Expert seminar on citizenship and belonging – part of the Commission of Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning (2008). The focus was ‘Moving on up: the role of lifelong learning in women’s journeys to active citizenship’.

Women Take Part

During 2007 members of changes partnership were approached by Government Equalities Office and Communities and Local Government to undertake research on under represented women in public life. This was called Women Take Part and built directly on the work of Impact! and other Take Part hubs. The Women Take Part (WTP) research was funded by the Government Equalities Office (2007 – 2008) to examine the participation of women, in particular under-represented women, in governance and decision making, in both community and public life. Women Take Part collected information about two sides of the story: ‘what works’ in terms of approaches, initiatives and learning models that encourage different groups of women to become more involved, and ‘what needs to happen’ so that structures, policies and organisations work in ways that encourage the recruitment and support of more women.

The report (published September 2008) provides a summary of the research findings and guidance on models and approaches which can be used to encourage, equip and support women. It is a resource for Government Equalities Office, and other agencies, from which they can extract information and ideas to inform delivery of relevant performance targets. The report draws upon contemporary research and knowledge which confirm and articulate the inequalities surrounding women’s active participation in public life. The need to develop and grow the ‘pool’ of women available for civil participation and civic engagement is emphasised.

For full report and Executive Summary see our resources pages or equalities.gov.uk.