We make the effort to invite and welcome all women into our community.
We recognise, respect and celebrate our differences and do what we can to make sure everyone has equal opportunities to progress and succeed.
We believe that abuse is connected to inequality. For us to end violence against women and girls, we need to understand and respond to the ways some women experience different barriers in accessing their rights and opportunities.
As an organisation we try to understand and respond to inequality by looking at how we can keep practicing equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.
We have a group which meets every six weeks and includes managers, trustees, staff and volunteers. The group also includes two of the DIVAS group members who tell us how to make sure we are communicating in an open and accessible way.
Together we came up with our own ideas about what Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging means to us as an organisation:
Some people may need extra help to get the same chances, based on their differences. To do this we need to have a good understanding of each woman's needs and the barriers she may be facing.
We want to try and make sure everybody has the same chances to achieve what they want or need when coming to The Women’s Centre Cornwall. To do this we may have to treat people differently to meet their individual needs.
Equity ensures that everyone has equal opportunities to progress and succeed, and it prevents individuals/certain groups from being discriminated against based on their differences.
As people we have lots of differences. It can be disempowering to feel as though you are different from everyone else. This can leave people feeling excluded, isolated and that their voices are not heard.
A diverse organisation is one with people from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. It also means we have different ideas and opinions. This is essential and enriches the way we work and the services we provide. We celebrate our differences.
Diversity is recognising, respecting and celebrating each other's differences.
Some people feel as though they are not actively included or invited into all organisations and services.
We want to make sure all women feel not only included, but welcome. To do this, we must think about every part of our organisation including our language (the way we talk about things), our policies (written information), our training, our culture (our way of life) and our working practices (agreed way we do things).
We must make sure that all of our services are accessible, and changes are made to meet individual needs.
Inclusion is about making an active and positive effort to have an open hand and welcome everyone.
Women who are living with the impact of abuse, and any women living in a patriarchal society can sometimes feel as though they don't belong.
At The Women's Centre Cornwall, we want to create respite from what can sometimes feel like an unsafe world. Belonging is when you can feel safe and comfortable within a group of women. This means every woman will be able to be themselves and share their feelings knowing that it is safe to do so.
Belonging is about women feeling safe and empowered. By creating a sense of belonging, women will know that they have a purpose, they are valued and their voices matter.
One of the members of the DIVAS said this about ‘belonging’ -
Fitting in, feeling happy, safe, heard, there for each other, able to say what I am feeling, listening to each other, understanding each other.
We believe that for women to feel a sense of belonging, we need to put equity, diversity and inclusion into practice. We are committed to doing this at every level of our organisation.
Watch this space for more updates on our approach to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.