Equal Power Equal Voice (EPEV) is a partnership between Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales, Stonewall Cymru, Disability Wales, and Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team (EYST) Wales. It is a mentoring programme aiming to increase diversity of representation in public and political life in Wales, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and Welsh Government.
Across Wales there exists massive social and intellectual capital that is untapped and excluded from our public and political systems. This includes Black, Asian or ethnic minority people, people from the LGBTQ+ community, disabled people, women and people who are any combination of these identities. There are those who are seen to have “made it” in that they have got to the “top” in their chosen field or in politics. Yet a common theme on talking to many of them is that it was a harder journey than it should have been, took a longer period of time and required many barriers to be overcome. The Equal Power Equal Voice (EPEV) programme aims to help bridge that gap, to get more diverse representation in politics and public life by strengthening the knowledge and skills of those that aspire to be there, whilst learning from and being supported by those who have achieved positions of power, influence and authority in the face of these challenges. Our previous successful Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales and Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team (EYST) Wales public life mentoring programmes have seen mentees gain positions as councillors and MPs, be appointed to public boards such as Careers Wales and Arts Council of Wales and become school governors and charity trustees. This programme aims to build upon this experience and success and to work collaboratively to increase representation across all our diverse communities.
Our vision is to see more diverse representation across all public and political decision-making positions in Wales including public boards (such as Arts Council Wales or Sport Wales), health boards, elected positions in local government and UK or Welsh Parliament, charity trustees, school governors, and as community activists.