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The leadership provided by women in making social change is under-valued and largely unrecognised. Women underpin the fabric of society as leaders in their comminities, they keep families together and they are usually the force behind social progress in local, national and international politics. Women were not 'given' the vote in 1918, they took it; they campaigned for it, suffered for it and some of them died for it. The Equal Pay Act was not a 'gift' from men, it was fought for by shop floor women and pushed through parliament by a woman. The #metoo campaign shows the influence women have when they act collectively.

Despite this, women are concerned that the decisions which affect their lives are largely still being taken by men. In public policy: many local Councils are dominated by men, particularly in the Shire Counties of the South West; the appointment of women to the management boards of public bodies is low, particularly to the paid positions which make such appointments feasible for disadvantaged women; the number of women in Parliament is low and the number in Government is laughably low, with those involved being largely ignored in developing policy. At work: supervisors and managers are largely men, even where the workforce is largely women; there remain prejudicial attitudes amongst many men against being supervised or managed by a woman; boards of directors are largely men. In the home: more men than women are the main earner; more women than men suffer abuse from their partner; more men than women determine where they move to follow job opportunities. In education: advice and guidance is still steering girls and women into stereotypical work; boys still dominate in technical classrooms; girls are still abused by boys and are often pressured into sexual relationships.

At times of great constitutional change, such as Brexit, women's voices are loud but totally ignored in a process which almost entirely excludes them. There is still much to be done to ensure that democracy includes women and FPSW is campaigning for a feminist democracy.


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