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Women Connect Newsletter February 2003.

Publication date: 14 February 2003 Equality and Diversity...

No. 4 February Issue 2003.

What’s in this Issue?

Research Development & Policy : Equality and Diversity - A single equality body?
E-voting pilot given may go ahead.

News : Resources for the visually impaired and people with dyslexia

Events: International womens week

Science and Technology : E-voting

Useful Websites for Women : Networking, Learning and sharing


CURRENT ISSUES FOR FEBRUARY - equality and diversity!



Equality in society: the possibility to live in a society where no-one is discriminated against for any reason including sex, race, colour etc. for example the offering of employment or promotion equally to all.

Discrimination: Unfair treatment of a person, racial group, or a minority.

Diversity: The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.




The Women and Equality Unit are carrying out a national consultation concerning the government's proposal to create a single equality body in Great Britain.

The idea is to merge the three present Commissions ie. the Equalities Opportunities Commission (EOC), the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) into one single equality body which would deal with all issues linked to equality. We are interested in thinking how this unit will work with issues concerning women. The proposal is that it would offer integrated guidance and support to individuals and businesses and help ensure a coherent approach to equality issues across the board.

According to the proposal the single equality body would:

Promote equality on an integrated basis, taking account of the full range of barriers to equality and the needs of all groups covered by equality legislation;

Promote good practice to business, service providers and others in mainstream equality across the breadth of their operations.

Serve clients through providing:

- A single point of contact for individuals, providing information, advice and guidance across the full breadth of their equality rights.

- A single point of advice to employers and service providers covering all areas of discrimination.

- More effective support for individuals facing discrimination, especially discrimination on multiple grounds.

Some potential risks and challenges about the proposal have been highlighted including:

- A potential loss of focus on the needs of groups or strands covered by equality legislation.

- Important work programmes that are underway in the existing Commissions would need to be successfully taken forward into any new body.

- The interests of all the groups served must carry equal weight.

If you are interested in giving your opinion about these issues, then these links may be help in providing more information.

Women and Equality Unit.


The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)


The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)


The Disability Rights Commission (DRC)


Here are some responses to the proposal for a single equality body from the EOC, the CRE and the DRC. In each commission gender is mainstreamed, for example within racism, disability or work opportunities. However, there is a lack of a focus specifically on discrimination against women and there is a need to ensure that women's issues are given the necessary importance within the single equality body and are not overshadowed by the needs of other interest groups.

EOC: "Towards Equality and Diversity"


The CRE consultation


The CRE response: "Towards Equality and Diversity: Implementing the Employment and Race Directives"


DRC: "The DRC position on a single equality body"


If you have views on Equality and Diversity that relate to women we would welcome your comments. Women Connect will be responding to this consultation to provide a gender perspective. Send your comments to info@womenconnect.org.uk and they will be included in our response.


NEWS : Resources for the visually impaired and people with dyslexia


Resources for the visually impaired and people with dyslexia

Foleshill Women’s Training in Coventry asked us about resources for visually impaired and people with dyslexia. We thought the information would be helpful for women’s groups. So when you are thinking about your website its important to consider if your web page is designed in a way that is accessible? Many sites are inaccessible for visually impaired people simply because they are poorly designed and are written in invalid code. A well designed website will be flexible in design, enabling individual users to use their own browser to adjust the text and colour settings to suit their own particular needs and circumstances. Here are some more links that provide lots of information and resources concerning accessibility.

The Royal National Institute of the Blind


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)


Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)


World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)



Here are some links to sites that have resources for people looking for information about Dyslexia. There is information about helpful software. In particular Browsealoud is a programme that can be installed to read aloud a website. "It opens up the internet for those who have difficulties reading web pages and who need an easy method of having text read back to them thus providing accessible information without the need for complex technological skills". Donald Schloss, Adult Dyslexia Organisation (UK).



Accessibility to websites for people with dyslexia.


The British Dyslexia Association


In last months Newsletter we provided a link to website design resources on the Women Connect website

Here is the starting place if you are trying to design your site:

There are three important questions to consider.

What is it you are trying to say?

Why is your information needed?

What response do you want and what do you want people to do as a result of what you have told them?

What is it you are trying to say?

When people visit your website, they need to be able to identify your message. Their attention needs to be held long enough to learn and respond to your message. Here is a list to help you identify your purpose:

For more ideas here is the link to the full Website tips document



EVENTS: International womens week


24th February: Women's Aid conference "Tackling Domestic Violence: Improving Intervention and Support", on how govt. agencies can provide effective victim centred approach to tackling domestic violence. For more information look at: http://www.gmb.org.uk/news/ViewNewsItem.asp?ID=38

Feminist Library Discussion Group: meets on alternate Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm at the The Feminist Library (tel. 020 7928 7789) : http://www.womeninlondon.org.uk/fldg0301.htm

International womens week

Trade Union Congress (TUC) supports International women's week. Throughout the week commencing 6th March, the North West TUC will be running information and display stands in shopping centres across the region. The stands, which will be staffed by members of the TUC's Womens Committee, will carry information about "family friendly" policies, including details of the recently implemented legislation covering Parental Leave. For dates, locations and key contacts for each stand take a look at: http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-861-f0.cfm

12 - 14th March Women's TUC Conference. Liverpool. GMB delegation. for more information look at: http://www.gmb.org.uk/news/ViewNewsItem.asp?ID=38

Celebrate! International Women's Day 2003. Asylum and Exile: Feminist Review. Thursday 27th Feb. 2003, 4 - 8pm. at the University of London, Room 3D, Malet St. WC1. The Editorial Board of Feminist Review and Birkbeck's Widening Participation Project extend a warm welcome to this seminar which launches the latest issue of Feminist Review 73, celebrating the work of the refugee support project at Birkbeck and honouring the contribution of women refugees and asylum seekers to the UK. Free admission; contact Marta Montague if you are coming: 020 7631 6603 or m.montague@bbk.ac.uk.


International Women's Day - Newcastle City Council


Capitalwoman 2003 organised by the Greater London Authority. Women make up 52% of London's population. Capitalwoman is your chance to tell the Mayor what you think about the future of public services in London. If your concerns are about housing, the environment, domestic violence, partnership rights…. 8th March, Free event, Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. For further information visit: http://www.london.gov.uk/approot/mayor/capitalwoman/index.jsp

Peterborough's Women Centre are organising a whole week of activities for International Womens week so if you are in the area contact them: http://www.angelfire.com/pe/pwc/

For more events look at : http://www.internationalwomensday.com/events/


E-voting pilot given May go-ahead (23 Jan)

Over 1.5 million voters will lead the nation in trialing voting on the internet, digital television and by text messaging, at this May's local elections. This initiative is very interesting and may improve access to different groups of people including women with young children, who face difficulties using the traditional ways of voting. There are other groups in society who may find it difficult to use the new technology possible older women and who require different ways of improving access.


What research are you involved in? Would you like to share any of your research with Women Connect? Let us know what you are doing in this field.

WEBSITES OF INTEREST ============================================================================================

Do you have any websites you would like to share with the network? Let us know!

The Fawcett Society have two campaigns running at present:

Equality? Get Real! and Women's Representation Bill. If interested take a look at: http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/fawcett_current_campaign.htm

Trade Union Congress

http://www.tuc.org.uk/index.cfm T

Britain's General Union


Newcastle City Council


Find out more about different women's organisations in the UK and globally:


Women in UNISON




The Minister for Women, supported by the Women and Equality Unit, lead on gender equality in Government. http://www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/





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date created:19/6/2003 10:47:13

last updated:3/7/2003 12:46:44


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