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Building relationships

In 2016/17 WBG organised a number of workshops around the country to build the capacity of local women to speak confidently about economic issues and develop relationships with decision-makers. These workshops took place in Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester and London and included participation from local women’s organisations and were held in local women-friendly/women-only venues.

The first of these workshops was held in Bristol, where two WBG committee members have worked locally for many years in various women’s organisations and represent WBG on the Economic Subgroup of the Mayor of Bristol’s Women’s Commission.

The workshop was jointly organised with Bristol Women’s Voice (an umbrella organisation representing women’s organisations and individual women in Bristol). The workshop focused on actions that could be taken to ensure that the economic development monies invested via the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone would deliver benefits to women, particularly low-income women residing in the residential areas near the Temple Quarter. The workshop was well-attended by women and equality organisations and by the CEO of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

Following the workshop several attendees worked with the LEP on their equality impact assessment. Work in Bristol is continuing with a participatory project involving WBG co-ordinated by Bristol Women’s Voice.

The workshop in Bristol led to on-going action locally because it built on a long-standing relationship between WBG members and activists in Bristol and capitalised on existing work on economic development in the area. The WBG has found that projects of this type are most successful where we work with a pre-existing group, otherwise the work that goes into organising a workshop may not lead to lasting change.

We concluded that conducting a training workshop and producing a toolkit has limited impact without an on-going local organization that is funded to continue to use the knowledge gained. Setting up local organisations is beyond the capacity of WBG, so we must partner with existing local organisations to build longer term strategies, including identifying elected representatives and people working in local government (including trade unionists) who are champions of gender equality, and working with them

WBG member