You are here: UNA Women's Advisory Council: Report of meeting 11.7.19, Hayley Williingale "Women's rights and equality"

At the meeting of WAC-UNA at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on 11.7.19, after some business, Hayley Willingale spoke. She is the Senior Associate - Human Rights and Research at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) https://www.equalityhumanrights.com Her topic was the EHCR report and summary:- Pressing for progress: women’s rights and gender equality in 2018 at https://www.equalityhumanrights.com . As a human rights champion she has experience at CSW and in the UK CSW Alliance. The EHRC, an independent public body with some UK government funding, it enforces the Human Rights Act. Assessed annually, it is UN accredited as an “A status” national human rights institution. . The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was a huge task. The UK had ratified CEDAW in 1986, so in 5 year cycles, it reports to the UN in Geneva. The EHRC obtained funding for NGO input from England, Wales and Scotland, to report to the UN in Geneva. 200 women’s rights organisations had been consulted!. The EHRS report covered ten main themes including reproductive rights (not been covered by the EHRC before), harmful practices (such as FGM and forced marriage) and gender-based violence VAWG but that is under-reported. 1.2 million people report domestic abuse every year but 4 in 5 survivors of partner abuse did not report it to the police EHCR found that lone parents’ income and the pensions of women born before 1950 were down. Migrant and asylum women’s care was bad. This 2018 report was the 4th most popular of EHCR’s 65 documents, mentioned on the radio, caused MPs to ask questions in the House of Commons. The Women and Equalities Select Committee enquiry on CEDAW, found the Minister for Women was responsible, but there was no process currently in place for monitoring it They wrote to the CEDAW committee in Geneva asking for a strategy and mechanism. This was the first time the UK Government had made such an approach. EHRC funded 11 organisations of 40+ organisations who heard the UK report to CEDAW in Geneva (in February 2019). See the UN TV coverage here: https://bit.ly/2M8yWPC EHRC wrote to the Minister with key recommendations asking for a Government assessment of the impact of all these policies. 82% of EHRC recommendations corresponded to the response of the CEDAW Committee to the UK’s report covering many issues. (VAWG and hate crime recommendations were weak and housing was not addressed.) A follow-up report to the UN in 2 years, will have an impact assessment after EU withdrawal and a new oversight body. A new government strategy in July, focuses on women in the economy A new Domestic Abuse Bill is being drafted (but no review of the law, no monitoring). EHRC works with employers on the gender pay gap legislation, provides advice on relationship education in schools and the rights of people in detention. Questions raised the following points N. Ireland had used CEDAW’s optional protocol. To hold the Government to account, use domestic law– the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998. In N. Ireland with no government, the UK government is covering abortion issues etc.