DivaManc Calls to Action: for a Greater Manchester that Works for Women

DivaManc was set up in response to the dominance of ‘stale, pale, males’ in the devolution story and a concern that it didn't work for women. Our intention was to help put the 'diva into devomanc' for a Greater Manchester devolution that is Diverse, Inclusive, Vibrant and Accountable. We are a women’s network growing women’s voice, participation, influence and power. Over the last nine months we have organised, facilitated and contributed to a wide range events providing spaces for women to share their stories, their goals and to take action.

The conversations and contributions of women from across Greater Manchester in the DivaManc debate helped shape Five Key Pledges that the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green Party Mayoral candidates all signed up to. These are backed up by more detailed Calls to Action and an evidence paper, which was prepared in partnership with the Fawcett Society.

We launched the five pledges at our DivaManc 'What Works for Women' workshop and "Divas In Action" events at Manchester Central Library on 10th March 2017 as part of the IWD2017 celebrations.

What Next? Following the election of Andy Burnham, we are now looking forward to working with our Mayor to make progress against these pledges, to include our call for gender balanced representation.

We are currently exploring alternative governance models to ensure that DivaManc lives and breathes it’s DIVA values (diverse, inclusive, vibrant and accountable) and provides an effective framework for collaboration between all women, women’s organisations and interested parties across Greater Manchester to both support and challenge our GM leaders in our quest for gender equality. We are looking to hold an event in July to explore together, in the meantime we welcome your ideas.

In the run up to GE2017 we are also asking parliamentary candidates from across GM to sign up to our pledges alongside GM citizens and public, private and voluntary organisations. We welcome your support.

Our Calls to Action

  1. Call for gender-balanced leadership and representation across Greater Manchester.

Women leaders across Greater Manchester are playing an integral role in shaping the region’s future. And yet, there is currently only one woman with a vote at the top table. We want to see the Mayor take practical steps to build on areas of strength and ensure women are equally represented across GMCA and at all levels of decision making in Greater Manchester. This will need to include changing how councils are represented at the Combined Authority to ensure women are fairly represented by members with a real say and responsibilities; greater use of all women shortlists; targets for gender equality on committees and boards; and designing in systems and strategies to nurture female talent and encourage more women to stand for office.

2. Enable women and men to contribute equally to policy making.

Women and girls make up 51% of the population of Greater Manchester but have little say in the policies that impact on their day-to-day lives. We want the Mayor to establish an effective mechanism for involving grassroots women’s voices in setting the policy agenda for Greater Manchester, recognising intersectionality, and enabling all women to participate including BAME, LGBT and disabled women, regardless of age or background.

3. Challenge conscious and unconscious bias against women across public, private and voluntary sectors.

We want our Mayor to use their position to challenge unrepresentative platforms, panels and committees, promote best practice and a culture of inclusion where all people feel valued and can contribute to the workplace/city/community according to their capabilities.

4. To close the gender pay gap.

Women in Greater Manchester earn 11% less than men per hour, and many are on poverty pay. We want the Mayor to work with businesses, public sector, voluntary and community sector, trade unions and citizens to co-produce and co-deliver a strategy for tackling Greater Manchester’s gender pay gap. This needs to include increased availability of good quality, affordable childcare and flexible working; access to high quality apprenticeships; rigorous target setting and measurement across recruitment, training and promotion; and should build on existing work in councils to guarantee a real living wage for Greater Manchester citizens.

5. Make Greater Manchester a place of choice for women and girls to live, work, study and care.

We are asking Mayoral candidates to set out how they will:

Make Greater Manchester a place where every girl and young woman wants to grow up.

Deliver quality care from birth to old age and a fairer deal for carers

Ensure women and girls have choice of safe, accessible and sustainable travel options

Enable all women and girls to access safe and suitable housing

End violence against women and girls

Note: These Mayoral Pledges and Calls to Action have been co-developed with DivaManc through partnership with the Fawcett society.

DivaManc acknowledges the diversity of women and men’s voices across Greater Manchester and so does not claim to represent all women’s views.

A more comprehensive document containing recommendations, evidence and additional contributions has been produced by the Fawcett Society.

In developing our Calls to Action we were really grateful for the advice of Prof Francesca Gains on how gender balance could be achieved in the political structures of a devolved Greater Manchester. Her advice can be shared upon request.

DivaManc contact details -

twitter: @divamanc website: divamanc.org email: divamanc@gmail.com

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