Established in 2011, Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales vision is a Wales free from gender discrimination. Our ambition is of a Wales where all women and men have equal authority and opportunity to shape society and their own lives.
We work with our vibrant coalition of organisational and individual members to transform society. We must close the gap on gender inequality in Wales – every day women are facing unequal challenges. The COVID19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on women’s lives in Wales. The issues women are facing – the unequal sharing of housework, childcare and caring responsibilities, survivors of domestic violence living with their abusing partners, access to women’s healthcare, pay inequality – are not new, but need to be addressed.
To make change happen, Wales needs more women leaders, women in decision making positions in political, public, and commercial life. We are taking positive and decisive action to give women a stronger voice and influence the things that are important to them. We connect, campaign and champion on behalf of all women to deliver transformational change in Wales.
WEN seeks to put the voices of all women at the heart of everything we do through our coalition of individuals and organisations. Empowering women through our campaigning activity, increasing networking opportunities at the WEN Café, and supporting women to become future leaders through the WEN mentoring scheme.
We unite the voices of our coalition members, bringing women’s voices together, to make real change possible for example through our Diverse 5050 Campaign.
We celebrate inspirational women and their achievements as positive role models for all women through our International Women’s Day and 100 Welsh Women projects.
Women’s representation in public life is stagnating, and in politics there has been a decline. Despite the representation of women in the Senedd reaching 50% in in 2003, following the 2021 Senedd elections, there was a decline and now only 43% of all Members are women.5 There is significant variation in gender representation in the Senedd across different political parties with women comprising 57% of Labour Members, 38% of Plaid Cymru Members and 19% of Conservative Members. The only Liberal Democrat Member is a woman.6 And looking at diversity of those Senedd members who are women shows a distinct lack of diversity – it took over 20 years of devolution for the first BAME woman to be elected to the Senedd.
In terms of other protected characteristics of Members of the Senedd, there is very limited information publicly collected about the diversity and backgrounds of MSs, which makes it difficult to work out how diverse the Senedd really is. For example, there is no information collected or published on the number of disabled MSs.
The participation of women in public life and politics assists in advancing gender equality, research shows that women elected to public office pursue more issues such as education, child-care, and family health legislation.7
Our vision is to see more Black, Asian, and ethnic minority women, LGBTQ+ women, more disabled women and more women from all socioeconomic backgrounds at all levels of elected office in Wales. We want to see decision making in Wales thoroughly informed by the perspectives and lived experiences of women with intersecting identities to produce better policy outcomes for all.
Joys Violette Njini (she/her)Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales Mentoring Project Manager
Joys has extensive experience within the Third Sector, particularly in supporting and empowering asylum-seeking and refugee women from around the world. She is passionate about fairness, social justice, equality of opportunity and women’s empowerment. She believes that to achieve a fairer and more equal Wales, there must be a diverse representation in Public and Political Office. As a former Wen Mentee herself, she recognises how vital this project can be in making Wales a more diverse and equal society.
Annmarie Brown (she/her)Women’s Equality Network Wales Mentoring Project Officer
Annmarie is a passionate advocate for equality and social justice and is committed to promoting inclusion and diversity in all areas of her work and life. She has a broad range of experience of working with a range of diverse individuals, in a variety of settings including education, criminal justice, and third sector organisations.