You are currently reading Issue 118: International Women's Day, March 2021

Connecting women and opportunity

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Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

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Improving women’s position in the workplace and in the economy to make Wales a gender-equal nation – Emma Tamplin, Collaboration Manager for Chwarae Teg


Emma Tamplin is the collaboration manager for Chwarae Teg, the charity inspiring, leading and delivering gender equality in Wales. Emma manages several programmes within Chwarae Teg, such as Step to Non Exec and LeadHerShip. She is passionate about gender equality and social justice, with over 13 years’ experience working within the third sector.

Emma Tamplin - Chwarae Teg
Emma Tamplin

“The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated inequalities, with women in Wales twice as likely as men to be key workers, more likely to have lost their jobs and have borne the brunt of home-schooling and caring responsibilities.”

Working for Chwarae Teg in my dream role

With qualifications in human resources management and a member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD), I have over 13 years’ experience of working to ensure people and businesses can reach their full potential.

I left school after 6th form totally unsure of what I wanted to do and took my first job at the Welsh Government, working on the cross-cutting themes of equal opportunities and environmental sustainability within the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) Structural Funds Programme. I knew I wanted a career in equality and diversity but did not know what that could look like.

A few years later, I moved to the voluntary sector into an HR role at Cardiff’s Third Sector Council. Working in HR finally gave me the opportunity to help develop people and it was whilst studying for my CIPD qualification part-time that I met someone from Chwarae Teg. As soon as they told me about Chwarae Teg, I knew I had to work there. I signed up for job alerts and eventually one came up in an HR/business development role. I got the job.

Fast forward ten years and I now design, develop and manage a number of exciting and trailblazing projects set up to ensure girls and women can reach their full potential. I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the most influential women in Wales and beyond, I feel totally blessed.

I am a non-executive director for United Welsh Housing Association in South Wales, with five years’ experience of working at the strategic board level, ensuring the delivery of the association’s strategy and policy framework. I absolutely love being a board member, particularly for such a progressive housing association. Every tenant is at the heart of the decision and they don’t just build homes, they build communities and transform lives.

Improving women’s position in the workplace and in the economy

I always believe I have the best role at Chwarae Teg. As collaboration manager, I have full autonomy to bring projects ideas from paper to life. I help to improve women’s position in the workplace and in the economy.

Chwarae Teg LeadHerShip event
A Chwarae Teg LeadHerShip event

No day is the same and the projects I work on vary so much. I can be hosting online careers events for girls to delivering projects to help women achieve their first board position.

A key part of my role is building relationships with potential partners we can work with on new projects and looking for ways to diversify our income streams. Chwarae Teg is a charity and we need to have sustainable funding avenues to survive, particularly during these challenging and uncertain times.

Making Wales become a gender-equal nation

Last month, we published our annual State of the Nation report, which outlines the progress made in Wales in terms of becoming a gender-equal nation and explores the experiences of women in the economy, their representation and those at risk.

This year, figures show a positive drop in the gender pay gap from 14.5% to 11.6% in Wales. However, this contrasts with worrying figures for female public appointments, which have fallen from 64% to 43.1%, and a drop in female chair appointments from 56% to under 5%.

Data in State of the Nation 2021 underlines the sharp divide in other gender-related areas too:

  • 26% of women state ‘looking after family and home’ as a reason for being economically inactive compared to just 6.5% of men;
  • 1% of women work part-time compared to just 11.8% of men;
  • 86% of single parents are women, which are by far the households most likely to live in poverty.

There are also challenges exacerbated by intersectional factors, with women from ethnic minorities much more likely to be economically inactive than their white female counterparts. This issue compounds the disadvantages faced by many women, and significantly hinders their ability to reach their full potential in the economy, to take a leading role in public life and to avoid risk.

It’s finally important to accept that, overall, the data set out in the report provides a very mixed picture. Therefore, it is unable, at this stage, to predict the true impact of COVID-19 on gender equality.

Improving recognition of women forgotten in Welsh history

Chwarae Teg Purple Plaques
The unveiling of a Chwarae Teg Purple Plaque in honour of Eunice Stallard

Purple Plaques is an absolutely fantastic campaign that was created to improve the recognition of women in Welsh history. Women are often missing from the history books and their achievements often go uncelebrated, so the campaign was created to change that by awarding remarkable women the purple plaque.

These have been awarded to inspiring women across Wales, such as: Ursula Masson, feminist historian, Eunice Stallard, peace campaigner, Val Feld, politician, Megan Lloyd George, politician, and Angela Kwok, community champion for the Chinese community. It has been an honour to be part of such aPurple Plaques historic movement.

Helping more women achieve board positions

I absolutely love our Step to Non Exec programme, a 12-month development programme providing women with the opportunity to shadow a board of a partner organisation, receive one-to-one mentoring and skills training, equipping them with the skills and confidence to achieve their first board position.

This successful programme is coming into its 4th year of delivery with over 50% of participants each year achieving a board position. It’s incredible to see the results every year and hear how it has changed people’s lives.

Learning from female leaders

LeadHerShip is a fantastic programme, providing role shadowing opportunities for young women to shadow women in senior decision-making roles across the sectors in Wales and beyond. Participants will have the opportunity to shadow Members of the Senedd and leaders from the public and private sector.

Chwarae Teg - Girls in Aviation
A Chwarea Teg Girls in Aviation event

Since the pandemic began we have been delivering these sessions virtually, and just this month we held an event with La-Chun Lindsay, an incredible woman who became the first woman to be appointed managing director of GE Aviation in Wales. La-Chun has had such an incredible career to date, and it was a real pleasure to be able to share her journey with 90 girls and women at home.

LeadHerShip will return in March where girls at home can virtually engage with Members of the Senedd. We will also be running virtual events later this year with women leading the banking and transport sector in Wales.

This International Women’s Day, #ChooseToChallenge!

The theme for this International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’ll be raising awareness in the media around issues such as the need for a gender-balanced Senedd (in advance of May’s Welsh elections), as we have concerns about the number of women, particularly BAME women, candidates in winnable seats.

We will also raise awareness of the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on women. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated inequalities, with women in Wales twice as likely as men to be key workers, more likely to have lost their jobs and have borne the brunt of home-schooling and caring responsibilities.

We will be using our social media channels to reinforcing actions and recommendations which we set out in our Manifesto for a Gender Equal Wales at the end of 2020.

Priorities for 2021

My next big thing is a project set up to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s a very exciting one for me as I will be working in partnership with organisations across the four nations of the UK: Fawcett Society (England), Women’s Resource Development Agency (Ireland) and Close the Gap (Scotland).

This project is funded by the Rosa Justice Equality Fund – ‘Now’s the time’. We will be recruiting employers across the nations to take part in the programme, providing training and best practice on how to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in the workplace.

I am also really excited to kick off our Not Just For Boys events this year, which promote rewarding careers in STEM industries to girls. These events are really needed to broaden horizons and showcase careers that are not just for the boys such as engineering and construction.

We’re also trying out a Not Just for Girls event this year, promoting female-dominated careers, such as teaching, to boys. Recognising that gender inequality also affects boys too and I would really like to do more around raising the awareness of this.

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