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The early years

During the early 1990s, WBG sent copies of its gender analysis of the budget to government and opposition parties every year and requested meetings with ministers and shadow ministers. The WBG managed to secure the occasional meeting with the Treasury, but was not able to establish a formal dialogue.

During this period, backbench women MPs from the Labour party (then in opposition) held a series of meetings with women’s organisations to discuss policies to promote women’s equality. Some of these women’s organisations were active members of WBG. Following the 1997 election of a Labour government several of these women MPs became ministers. The newly elected MPs included many women with a background in women’s organisations. These women parliamentarians and ministers were able to promote the work of WBG to their colleagues, help set up meetings for WBG with Treasury ministers and officials and advise on how best to present their case. The Women’s National Commission, a government body which acted as a link between the women’s sector and the government, was re-organised and played a key role in gender mainstreaming.