Bristol first UK city to sign women charter

9 03 2013

Bristol has become the first city in the UK to sign the European Charter for the Equality of Women and Men in Local Life. Flanked by representatives from women’s groups in the city, George Ferguson signed the charter in City Hall on what he said was “a star day, a top day in the life of the mayor”.

The charter, thrashed out over many years across Europe and one that has come to Bristol in part thanks to Green Party cabinet member Gus Hoyt, looks at how all international declarations can apply equally to women and men, giving practical actions to take by councils to make women’s lives better at a local level.

A vocal group of mostly women attended the charter signing at City hall, where Ferguson was barracked by two members of the audience, first for only appearing to pay lip service to gender equality, and then secondly when seasoned rabble-rouser Julie Boston asked him if he was going to give jobs back to the 300 members of staff Bristol City Council has recently made redundant.

As the electricity metre ran out and the lights went off in meeting room six, it was left to Helen Mott from Bristol Fawcett – and independent candidate for Westbury-on-Trym in May’s local elections – to say that the signing of the charter makes our city a “trailblazer”, and makes her proud to be a Bristolian and will make Bristol a happier place as a result.

European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life signing in Bristol

Gus Hoyt introducing the charter signing. Photo by John Craig.