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Mayor of Bristol commits city to working to equality for women

The Mayor of Bristol is to sign an historic declaration committing the city to working to secure the equality of women and men.

In doing so George Ferguson will put Bristol at the forefront of the drive for fairness with the city becoming the first in the UK to sign up to the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life, launched in 2006.

The signing of the charter, which will take place at a ceremony in City Hall on Friday, March 8, will commit the council to drawing up a Women’s Strategy for Bristol that will set out the priorities, actions and resources to achieve this.

A Women’s Commission will be set up comprising key agencies in the city and will form working parties to look at various aspects of gender equality.

The Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson said: “Signing the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life is a major declaration of intent, setting out our commitment to achieving real equality for women in Bristol.

“Major advances have of course been made in the last 50 years but more can be done to secure  genuine equality of opportunity and choice.

“Women continue to be under-represented at the highest levels of decision-making, something alluded to only last month by the Prime Minister.

“Women put in far more unpaid hours at home than men and, on the social front, continue to suffer unacceptable levels of harassment and violence.

“I want Bristol to be in the vanguard of the drive in the UK to achieve equality for women in all aspects of local life and I am proud to make this commitment on the city’s behalf.”

Councillor Gus Hoyt, Cabinet Member for the Environment, Communities and Equalities, said: “This is more than a question of natural justice and of securing recognition of the contribution of women to life in Bristol.

“As a European Commission report notes, gender inequality “imposes a heavy toll on the economy and results in an under-utilisation of talent”.

“In working for equality for women we will be working towards a more prosperous and successful Bristol.”

Penny Gane, Interim Chair of Bristol Women’s Voice, said: “Bristol Women’s Voice are pleased that the Mayor is demonstrating his commitment to putting Bristol at the forefront of women’s equality. We look forward to working together in the Women’s Commission and playing our part in making sure that the voices of women across Bristol are heard.”