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The Equality City project is a partnership between FOR Cardiff and Chwarae Teg, that aims to embed equality and diversity into working practices across Cardiff and support wider changes in policy, planning and the public realm.
Natasha Davies, Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Research at Chwarae Teg, explains more about the Equality City project and why it is an important step towards positive change.
We want to see Cardiff become an equality city, but what does that mean? This was the question we asked ourselves when we first embarked on this piece of work.
We concluded that an equality city is one that is free from all forms of discrimination, affords everyone the same opportunities and is one in which all those living and working in the city feel seen, heard and valued.
It’s a city where there is fair and equitable representation among decision-makers, where equality is at the heart of all decision-making and where everyone has agency over their lives and the decisions that affect them.
And it’s a happy, safe and healthy place to live, work and socialise.
No single actor can make this vision a reality, and some actions will sit outside the scope of this phase of the Equality City project, but a key way that many of us can affect change is in relation to the world of work. As employers and employees, we can help to ensure that workplaces across Cardiff are ones in which everyone is able to thrive.
You may ask, why does this matter? Well, the reality is that inequality remains a persistent feature of our lives. Wales still has a gender pay gap of 11.3%, which means women still earn less on average than men. Women are three times as likely to be out of work due to caring responsibilities and are under-represented in senior, decision-making positions in politics and many sectors of the economy.
This inequality also affects the most basic elements of our day-to-day lives. 50% of women aged 16-34 in the UK experienced at least one form of harassment in the last year, and just 23% of women in Wales feel safe in their local area after dark.
Making all of our workplaces safe and inclusive can be a really important part of the solution, which is why we’ve developed the Equality City pledge. The pledge provides employers across the city the opportunity to show their support for equality, diversity and inclusion, recognise the important role that business can play, in partnership with others, to build a truly inclusive city and commit to taking action to ensure their workplaces are inclusive and diverse.
The pledge is rooted in research to explore existing practice in this space, and to understand current equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) practice in Cardiff. We found that employers in Cardiff are at different points on their EDI journeys. Flexible working and the collation of EDI data about the workforce were most common, with fewer employers undertaking reporting on gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps, having an equality strategy in place or having mandatory EDI training.
The pledge recognises this and is designed to enable business leaders to opt in for the commitments that are best suited to them. Pledge commitments cover workplace policies and practice, recording and reviewing the diversity of the workforce and embedding an inclusive culture. Signatories can also access the Equality City toolkit, that offers advice and guidance on how to meet the pledge commitments, and for those who are ready, how to go a step further.
A more equal and inclusive Cardiff has the potential to make a significant difference to many people’s lives. To enjoy a city where there are no physical barriers, where public services are accessible and of a high quality, where workplaces are accessible, inclusive and diverse and where everyone benefits from fair work and equal pay. The benefits of this kind of city would not just be felt by individuals, but would support a thriving local economy. Signing up to the Equality City pledge offers employers across Cardiff the opportunity to be part of this change.
Sign up to the Equality City pledge here.