Let me be the one-millionth person to point out what a significant year this has been. For all of us, the stresses and strains of everyday life have been exacerbated by the pandemic and its emotional and economic fallouts. We want to bring you a few highlights of the year, to at least give you some positive hope for 2021, after 2020 has seen inequality laid bare. In among the pain and suffering of this year, we have seen growing recognition of the damage that inequality inflicts on our society and growing calls for something to be done. We all know the solutions and we are here to continue to lobby with you, for local councils, regions, MPs and Government to implement them. And we shall increase our efforts to do this with an extended team in 2021, because inequality is not inevitable.
We’ve been humbled by the donations that we have received this year and we want to thank all of you. If you are able to donate to us at this time, then we really do appreciate it, but if you are not able to, then of course we do understand and there are many other ways in which you can tackle inequality!
Dr Wanda Wyporska
The Equality Trust, Executive Director
2020: Strategy and highlights
During 2020 we have built on our strategy to amplify social power, especially the voices of experts by lived experience. Whilst we incorporate social power in all our campaigns, we put this at the forefront of our collaboration with Equally Ours and the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ Deaton Review. We ran three roundtable discussions each focusing on a different aspect of structural inequality through an intersectional lens. The output of these roundtables will influence the direction of the Deaton Review, which previously faced criticism for lack of diversity. This demonstrates the importance of listening to grassroots voices in finding solutions to social and economic inequality.
Social power was also a key element of our Inequality Bites podcast series, in which we speak to experts by both lived and learned experience. The series started with two episodes featuring our co-founders and now Patrons, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, speaking about The Inner Level and The Spirit Level respectively. We know that a strong evidence base is important, but we also recognise the power of individual stories. You can listen now to Sophia Moreau telling her own story of pay discrimination, which demonstrates how important pay transparency is for tackling inequality. Look out for our new campaign in 2021 on pay transparency!
This year a huge spotlight has been shone on the damaging impact of structural inequalities, and there has been greater recognition of the need to act at a higher level. I was delighted to be appointed to several new roles that will enable The Equality Trust to take the voices of you, our supporters, to decision-makers. With positions on the Greater London Authority’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group, the London Recovery Board and the UK Statistics Authority Inclusive Data Taskforce, just like the input to the Deaton Review, we can amplify voices less often heard in these areas. This, alongside our supporter-funded COVID-19 research, will enable The Equality Trust to keep ensuring that lived experiences are foregrounded, cementing our role at the nexus between economic justice organisations, academia, policymakers and grassroots organisations.
Young Equality Campaigners
In late February 2020, Steve McQueen chose the Bollo Brook activist artwork ‘Who we are, who we aren’t’ to be part of his Uniqlo Tate Late ‘Artists and the City’, which was a major achievement for all those involved in the project - and only possible thanks to your donations and the support of Four Acre Trust. The evening was incredible, with nearly 400 members of the public engaging with the art and the artists. Artists discussed the implications of their work with people from a wide range of backgrounds - there were palpable moments of learning and self-reflection. Given COVID-19 restrictions, we worked with Bollo Brook to bring their artwork online in June 2020, enabling it to reach an audience of thousands since its launch. The website received press coverage, was used in schools, praised by the Institute of Race Relations and flagged as best practice within the Local Government Association. Sonny Inglis (artist and activist) and Colin Brent (Senior Youth Worker) were featured in Youth and Policy highlighting the importance of holistic youth work for reducing inequalities. Don’t miss your chance to see this essential artwork during August 2021 at the Pitzhanger Gallery, Ealing.
Despite being a tough year for our local groups, they continued to make positive change facilitating local activism as many shifted their focus to the immediate needs of their neighbours during the UK lockdown.
Cambridge Commons continued to run online events that highlight local inequalities and how we can campaign to reduce them. In total, in 2020 they hosted 7 events, all of which supported people to fight inequality locally.
South Wales Equality Group held its first online webinar working with local councils, politicians and people to landscape an equitable transport system, you can watch it here.
The formation of a new group in Bournemouth and the renewal of activism in Cumbria, Birmingham and Sheffield demonstrates that, although there remain challenges, there is an appetite for local campaigns on inequality across the UK. We look forward to supporting inequality activists across the UK, in partnership with the Barrow Cadbury Charitable Trust, during 2021.
Fair Pay Campaign focuses on accessibility and transparency
Following our 2019 report, From Pin Money to Fat Cats, which revealed large gender bonus gaps across all sectors, we worked to increase the accessibility and transparency of CEO pay and gender pay and bonus gap data. As a result, our Fair Pay FTSE dashboard reveals the extent of pay inequality in the FTSE, providing individuals with a way to check whether a company shares its values. Where possible, we have combined pay data with other indicators of corporate fairness such as being Living Wage accredited and having a recognition agreement with a union, as well as providing context about UK wages. With funding from Friends Provident Foundation, we will maintain this resource in 2021 and continue our work on the potential for the private sector to tackle inequalities.
The People vs FTSE: Equal Pay motion win for our activists.
Working with FTSE 100 companies we have continued to drive corporate change. Landsec, the UK’s largest commercial property development and investment company, agreed to introduce gender pay gap reporting by grade after our activists Carl and Louise posed questions at their AGM. This commitment demonstrates to other FTSE companies that work to reduce pay gaps can and should be done - and it is hopefully just the beginning.
We’ve also supported activists to lobby HSBC to improve its gender pay gap, which is currently a shocking 55%. Over 200 of you wrote to Ian Stuart, CEO of HSBC UK, asking him to take action to reduce the potential for pay discrimination and we recently received a reply from him.
We will build on this work, supported by Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, throughout 2021 - working with unions, businesses and the third sector on tackling equal pay.
The Equality Trust: Supporter Survey
We couldn’t do what we do without your support, and we would like to ask you a few quick questions about our work and plans. This will help us with our strategic thinking as well as assessing how we are doing. Please fill out our supporter survey before the end of January - we really want to hear from you.
The Equality Trust has always been at its most powerful when it works with its supporters to create change. In the spirit of activism and action, here are some things you can do now, today, tomorrow, next week, and next year to combat inequality.
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