What Young Women’s Trust is doing to become more inclusive and equal

Tuesday 29 September 2020

At Young Women’s Trust, we’re making a commitment to equality and inclusion across all our work. In this blog Laura Perkins, our Director of Fundraising, who is leading our Diversity and Inclusion working group, talks about how we are making sure we live our values. 

How we got started 
Equality and inclusion are core values that we believe in as an organisation. They are what get us out of bed every morning to fight for young women’s rights. We strive to be inclusive in many ways but, we know we must not be complacent and that we need to work hard to uphold these values in everything we do.  

We understand this work is important and ongoing, so we wanted to review the whole organisation. To get started with this, we decided to form a working group. The group includes staff, young women and trustees and together we will lead this project. 

The equality and inclusion group is so important in order to create a more representative workplace. It is crucial that our company reflects the young women who use our service so that parallels can be made through perceptions and experiences. This working group aims to develop ways to reach the furthest first and create a more diverse workforce."

Ashleeka, working group member


What we’re doing already
 
We ask the young women we work with about themselves. We know that our Work it Out service reaches a diverse range of young women and we know that over 90% of the young women we reached through our Emergency Fund were from Black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds. We also know that our research and influencing work shines a light on where inequalities in society exist and how they can be addressed by government and others. 
 
But we need to do more, so we decided to get some extra help.

What we are going to do next 
We found an advisor called Chaka to work with us, who has lots of experience of working with charities to create inclusive cultures. 

We realised we need to talk about equality and inclusion as a whole and that we can’t change one thing at a time, for example changing the way we recruit for jobs. We need to think about the culture of the organisation too. 

So we’ve started an audit of our organisational culture, recognising what we do well and what we aspire to get better at. The audit will include interviews and focus groups with staff, young women, senior managers and our Board.  

We will reflect on what we learn and with the help of Chaka create an action plan and ways to measure our progress.   

What our hopes for the project are 
As an organisation we hope to make our work accessible to all young women. We hope to gain a greater understanding of the young women we stand in solidarity with. We hope to increase the diversity of our workforce, management and Board which will help us be better listeners and enable us to make decisions that are right for the young women we represent. We hope to learn and create a culture that can reflect and challenge itself.  

What the challenges might be
It’s going to take time and we are sure we will hit a few bumps along the way. This work will uncover lots of unexpected things – some will be uncomfortable and challenging and some will be heartwarming and inspiring. But, we understand that this work plays a vital part in creating brighter futures for the young women we currently work with – as well as the ones we will meet in the future.  

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