Where are the women in LSPs?: Women's representation in local strategic partnerships | Gender Equality

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Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) are a way of bringing together local people , including public sector organisations, voluntary and community organisations, and business to work to improve the quality of local life. They aim to improve how local services are planned and delivered. This report looks at the shortage of women in LSPs, especially in senior bodies, as well as the lack of monitoring which masks the problem, and the absence of specific support to shift the balance. It makes recommendations for systematic monitoring, specific support for women, and use of the Public Sector Duty on Gender Equality to improve service delivery.
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  By Elin Gudnadottir, Sue Smith,Sue Robson and Darlene Corry   Women’s representation inLocal Strategic Partnerships  women  in LSPs?  W here a re t he   Where are the women in LSPs ? Womens’s representation inLocal Strategic Partnerships First edition 2007By Elin Gudnadottir, Sue Smith,Sue Robson and Darlene Corry Book Design: Tony HillmanPrinted in the UK by Eyemedia Published by Urban Forum,33 Corsham Street, London N1 6DRFirst published 2007© Urban Forum,Oxfam, Women’s Resource Centre,2007ISBN 978-0-9551421-2-3  W here a re t he  women  in LSPs?  Women’s representation inLocal Strategic Partnerships The pictures used in this report are supplied by Urban Forum (Laura Buffery), Oxfam (Chris Worrall) and Women’s Resource Centre (Olivia McGilchrist)  2  Executive Summary  4  Introduction 5  Methodology  6  Background and Policy Context 6  Local Strategic Partnerships 7  The Local Government White Paper 8  The Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CHR) 8  The Gender Equality Duty  9  The Duty’s significance for LSPs 9  Gender equality and local decision-making  11  Research Findings 12  Women’s representation in LSPs 15  Supporting women’s engagement 16  Monitoring women’s representation 17  What women’s issues are being raised at LSPs? 18  The Gender Equality Duty  19  Conclusions and recommendations 19  Where are the women in LSPs? 20  What women’s issues are being raised at LSPs? 21  How can LSPs engage with women’s organisations? 21  How can women’s greater representation be supported? 22  How can women’s presence be monitored? 22  How can public bodies use the Gender Equality Duty? 23  Further work and next steps 24  Appendix A   Women’sOrganisations’RepresentationonLocalStrategicPartnerships 25  Appendix B Literature review on gender mainstreaming  29  Appendix C Guidelines for women’s greater participation and representation 31  Bibliography and References CONTENTS  2  W here a re t he  women in LSPs? I n England decisions that affect the welfare of local communities and the services they receive are increasinglybeing taken at a local level. The recent Local Government White Paper, Strong and Prosperous Communities (CLG,2006) emphasises the importance of community involvement in local decision-making. It also places greaterimportance on Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) and Local Area Agreement (LAA) to deliver services.The way to secure transparent and better decision-making is to include women. Women representatives are more likelyto focus on social services, the safety of women and children, and gender equality. The new Gender Equality Dutyrequires all public authorities to promote gender equality and remove discrimination. Using these opportunities, UrbanForum, Oxfam and Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) researched women’s representation on LSPs, the engagement ofwomen’s organisations with LSPs and what issues affecting women are being raised in LSP business.LSPs typically have a central board or executive, where key decisions are made, and a range of other themed groups whichfeed into this central board, such as Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs). They are made up of representativesof local councils, other public sector bodies, local businesses and local voluntary and community organisations.  Where are the women on LSPs?   28% of Chairs of central LSPs boards are women, roughly equivalent to the percentage of women councillors   Only 19% of Chairs are women on different groups within LSPs.   Women are more likely to be community representatives, thematic partnership representatives or administrators oncentral LSP boards.  What women’s issues are being raised?   Women’s issues raised most frequently are problems such as teenage pregnancy and domestic violence, reflectingnational and local government targets.   No LSP demonstrated awareness that all issues have a gender perspective, such as public service delivery intransport or economic development.  Are LSPs engaging with women’s organisations?   Women’s organisations represent around 7% of the total voluntary and community sector, but on LSPs were only 1.8%of voluntary sector representatives.   This means they are significantly under-represented in relation to their size in the sector. How are LSPs supporting women’s representation?   Support mechanisms for the engagement of community members are sometimes available, but few are specificallytailored to women.   72% of LSPs surveyed did not provide any specific support for women to engage in their business or structures.   LSPs reflect wider societal structure where men are still in the majority in senior positions.   The few LSPs that provided support for women emphasised that proper engagement and support takes time. Executive Summary 
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