Equality, diversity & inclusion

We define equality, diversity and inclusion as follows:

Equality enables us to create a fairer society where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.  Equality is backed by legislation (Equality Act 2010) which is designed to address unfair discrimination, harassment and victimisation; to advance equality of opportunity and to foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.  However, this is everyone’s responsibility as well.  There are nine protected characteristics: age; disability; gender assignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion and belief; sex and sexual orientation.

Diversity is when we recognise and value difference in its broadest sense.  It is about creating a culture and practices that recognise, respect, value, and embrace difference for everyone’s benefit.

Inclusion refers to an individual’s experience within the workplace and in wider society and the extent to which they feel valued and included.

Equality, diversity and inclusion are different things however they need to be progressed together.  Equality of opportunity will only exist when we recognise and value difference and work together for inclusion.

Our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy helps us focus on key actions to ensure that all our work is contributing to promoting equality, valuing diversity and working inclusively across the whole organisation. These principles are upheld in behaviours and practices – as an employer, service provider and a campaigning organisation. Our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy aims to fully embed equality, diversity and inclusion into all our systems, processes, policies and behaviour and help us to make every effort to eliminate discrimination and promote equal opportunities.

We recognise our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 and are committed to meeting them.  We believe that a culture that embraces equality and values diversity will help us to ensure that everyone feels involved and included in our plans, programmes and activities. We aim to create an environment which respects and welcomes all women and in which no form of bullying, harassment, disrespectful or discriminatory behaviour is tolerated by anyone towards anyone. This particularly applies in relation to the ‘protected characteristics’ named in the Equality Act 2010.

Our commitment to equality, diversity & inclusion ensures that we are clear that in order to continue to provide the best services for women and girls across the South West, we must ensure that we have a diverse and well-supported workforce; not only reflecting the communities we work with, but who are able to challenge injustice and do everything possible to overcome discrimination and remove barriers for women accessing our service. We actively work to achieve this through our Recruitment and Human Resources Policies.  Plus, as a community based organisation The Women's Centre Cornwall encourages all women to be involved in and to contribute to the direction and priorities of the organisation.  We aim to work in an inclusive and participatory manner and support and facilitate women and girls to be involved at all levels of policy and decision making. We also work pro-actively within the Voluntary & Community Sector Equality & Diversity Group to develop inclusive services across Cornwall.

Violence against women as an equality issue

Violence against women is an equality issue. Violence against women is a cause and consequence of women’s oppression.  The United Nations Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women defines gender-based violence to be violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately and declares it to be "a form of discrimination against women that seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men". Gender-based violence (male perpetrated violence against women) has been recognised as a human rights issue, an equality issue and as discrimination against women.  Gender-based violence is any act of violence directed at a woman because she is a woman or which disproportionately impacts on women.  Violence against women includes, but is not limited to, physical, sexual or psychological violence within the family or community.

The Government’s cross-governmental strategy to End Violence Against Women and Girls (2016-20) sets out that it is the role of all public bodies including the police, NHS and local authorities to work together to meet the needs of their local communities to support women who have experienced violence, protect against violence, ensure that perpetrators of violence are brought to justice and to take steps to prevent violence happening in the future.

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