With International Women’s Day falling in March, we thought this is the perfect way to support equality with this month’s box, perfectly named Beautifully Strong which has been designed by the wonderful Yukai Du.
We asked the Fawcett Society to tell us a bit more about themselves, and Jemima shared with us all about the wonderful charity.
Please tell us all about the Fawcett Society! How did it begin, and how has it become what it is now? What do you believe is your most important mission as a charity?
Fawcett is the UK’s leading membership charity, campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life.
We’ve been fighting for gender equality for over 150 years. Our story began with Millicent Fawcett, who, at 19, collected signatures on a petition for women’s votes; she made it her life’s work to secure equal voting rights. Today, we continue to fight for equal pay, to secure equal power in politics and to smash gender stereotypes that hold our children back and to defend women’s rights.
A society where women and girls, in all of their diversity, are truly free to live how they choose and reach their full potential is the society we want to create – getting there is our most important mission as a charity.
What impact do you hope the Fawcett Society as a charity has on the community?
As a charity, we are a small but mighty force. We play an important role in creating historic changes for women and we bring together women and men who want to end gender inequality.
Whether we’re diving into the experiences of women of colour in the workplace to understand the structural and cultural barriers in place that hold them back from being paid equally, or examining how employers can do better in preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, we are here every day, fighting against the patriarchy and for every woman and girl in the UK.
We work alongside our movement of grassroots campaigners to make change too. From Manchester to Devon, Fawcett local groups work within local communities to fight sexism, gender inequality and campaign alongside us to achieve change.
Can you tell us some of the highlights and milestones you’ve achieved up to this point?
Since Millicent Fawcett secured the right for women to vote in 1866, we have continued to fight for gender equality.
We are tireless fighters for Equal Pay. 50 years on from the Equal Pay Act, the law designed to address pay discrimination is still not properly understood and often ignored. We continue to campaign for improved gender pay gap reporting, including the introduction of intersectional ethnicity pay gap reporting and action plans from organisations to address workplace inequality.
Fawcett’s most recent Equal Pay Day 2021 campaign called on employers to take the End Salary History pledge and stop asking potential recruits how much they were paid in previous jobs. Asking for salary history is a recruitment practice that bakes in gender, race and disability inequality and we were delighted to see many organisations take the pledge.
Our Sex Discrimination Law Review has led to several changes for women, from strengthening protections for pregnant women at work to the government introducing a regulatory duty on employers to tackle and prevent sexual harassment.
We have set up the Commission on Gender Stereotypes in Early Childhood, the first of its kind, bringing together experts across industries to build a consensus on tackling gender stereotypes.
And during the covid-19 crisis, we led a coalition of more than 65 women’s organisations who campaigned to make women visible throughout the pandemic, responding to women’s challenges and needs.
What does the future hold for the Fawcett Society?
There has never been a more exciting time to join our movement and we know that there is more interest than ever before in feminism, activism and community building. We want Fawcett to be the space that brings together that force for change, with opportunities for collaboration, ideas sharing, debate and campaigning.
We want to work on the fundamental changes for women now and in the future and create a world where women get to achieve their full potential – a world where half of our politicians are women, where women get paid the same as men and where our young people grow up free to be who they want to be.
What advice would you give to the women of today that want to fight for change within society?
For women who want to fight for change, Fawcett is the perfect place for you – join as a member today for as little as £1 per month. We are stronger together, fighting against gender inequality and sexism.
Men can also contribute to and fight for change – by being an ally. That means having conversations, challenging behaviours, supporting the sisterhood and taking a stand against inequality.
Where should they go to find out more and get involved?
If you’d like to become a Fawcett member and make a difference to women and girls everywhere, you can join here.
You can make a donation to Fawcett and help us to ensure that women’s voices are heard, to create impactful research and to help us change the law, so it works for women.
This International Women’s Day the Fawcett Society are raising funds for their Equal Play project tackling harmful gender stereotypes. All donations made to this campaign between 8 March and 15 March will be doubled by the Big Give match fund.
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