Fawcett Society

November 22, 2009 at 11:47 pm / by

I’ve been mercilessly bullied this weekend about not being on twitter. My excuse has always been that I don’t have enough time but apparently that’s not good enough!

According to one of my bullies, twitter provides you with a very quick newsfeed which is proving to be invaluable for his current affairs upkeep.

Another bully pointed out that if Sarah Brown has the time to tweet, so should I. Hmm… fair point I suppose. However I am an active Facebooker and I have a blog. Am I really missing out by not being part of the tweetsphere?! Any thoughts?

Anyway, I thought I’d share a piece I wrote for the Fawcett Society recently. I was contacted through my blog (Not through twitter….so there!) by Fawcett’s Communications Officer.

She asked me to contribute a very short article to the winter edition of StopGap, their supporter magazine. This issue focus on the double discrimination faced by ethnic minority women, as highlighted by their flagship campaign Seeing Double.

Fawcett asked:

What do you think is the key to making ethnic minority women’s voices heard and overcoming the ‘double discrimination’ experience?

As BAME Officer for Young Labour I said:

To help women from ethnic minority backgrounds, you need to understand the issues associated specifically with their lifestyles. But do all ethnic minority women face the same challenges? Ethnicity is diverse and cannot be put under one umbrella.

There are some obvious barriers to power, money and justice for ethnic minority women such the lack of childcare in the workplace (In Parliament, where I work, we do not have a crèche). This is obviously an issue for all women, regardless of ethnicity, but perhaps the difficulty for ethnic minority women is sometimes enhanced by the lack of support within their own households.

Ethnic women often do not progress because job vacancies or training opportunities fail to reach the right audience. They suffer because of language difficulties and the inability to bring multiple discrimination claims in the justice system.

However ultimately there is no one key policy that will help women from ethnic minorities overcome the double discrimination experience. Essentially there’s a lack of understanding about issues affecting ethnic minority women and if policy makers continue to treat them as a homogenous group, opportunities for them will not increase.

The only way to increase this understanding, and develop public policy accordingly, is if policy workers consult and listen to the concerns of these women directly.