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AEA is a Community Interest Company Limited by Guarantee which was established in 2018 to promote the personal and professional development of women and girls. AEA is non party-political. We have two initial areas of activity.
Cultivating self-esteem, bolstering confidence and raising aspirations are key factors in personal and professional development, and especially important for women and girls. AEA conferences will inform, inspire, motivate and empower. Visit our Conferences page to find out more.
AEA Equality legislation Training
Everyone deserves respect and everyone’s rights should be protected. Human rights are enshrined in the 1998 Human Rights Act. In the UK’s 2010 Equality Act (EA) certain groups – known as ‘protected characteristics’ – are given protection in recognition of the discrimination and disadvantage they experience.
In accordance with our foundational aims, AEA Training has a particular focus on the Protected characteristic ‘Sex’ and the ‘Single-sex exception’.
Properly and fairly applied, the EA has the power to reduce discrimination and disadvantage experienced by women and girls – scroll down for greater detail.
However, confusion about the application, or non-application, of the single-sex exception is widespread – see ‘What We Do’ for greater detail.
AEA Training provides clarity and dispels confusion.
Visit our Training page to find out more.
Why is an organisation like AEA necessary?
Women are everywhere: in public spaces, in all institutions and in most organisations. Unlike a few short decades ago, the presence of women is now so commonplace and unquestioned, that many believe women have achieved parity. Is this really so?
Undeniable gains for women and girls have been made but, in many instances, aspirations are truncated and ambitions stunted. Unfairness threads throughout the fabric of female lives.
Sources for the following are in Reports and Research Papers.
There’s the inherent career-limiting bias of the ‘glass-ceiling’ and the ‘maternity career-penalty’, plus the fact that women working full-time are paid, on average, 14.1% less than men. There’s unfairness in the home: even when working full-time, even when earning more than their male partners, women still undertake the majority of housework and care of dependants.
According to a 2019 study, one in five women report sex discrimination, which includes feeling unsafe, avoiding certain places, being insulted and being physically attacked. Those who reported, were three times more likely to report clinical depression and more likely to develop poorer mental health over the following four years, including poorer mental functioning.
And it starts early. As an example, 71.3% of girls successfully study STEM at GCSE level yet only 33% continue onwards to a STEM qualification – an indication that something is awry.
Do cultural expectations and standards, about female abilities and how females should look and behave, influence girls and young women and negatively impact their self-esteem and dampen aspiration?
Sexist views and behaviour are rife in schools: 66% of female students have experienced or witnessed the use of sexist language. 37% of female students have experienced sexual harassment. It’s not surprising that the Prince’s Trust’s 2019 ‘Youth Index’ found that young women lack self-confidence and feel they are ‘not good enough in general’. Even worse, self-harm among young girls is rising: in the last decade, NHS data shows a 68% rise in hospital admissions of self-harmed girls under 17yrs.
And let’s not forget women in low-paid and insecure employment; women pensioners living in poverty; and the appalling numbers of women subjected to domestic violence/abuse, rape/sexual assault, and those murdered by a current or former partner – three every week.
But women walk the ultimate corridors of civic power, so our women MPs lobby for change, don’t they? They do, of course, but their collective strength is limited: though females are almost 52% of the UK population, male MPs outnumber women MPs by 2:1. Unfairness also stalks the House of Commons: women MPs are not entitled to Maternity Leave. Nor do Parliament’s sitting hours fit well with the family responsibilities of many women MPs.
Progress has indeed been made but there is evidently a long way to go before equality between the sexes is achieved.
Furthermore, progress made is not guaranteed.
In many locations, there is an active roll-back. A prime example: an attack on women’s reproductive rights is unfolding in the US, including a recent State decision that girls who conceive from rape will be denied abortion – worryingly, now being echoed by some UK MPs.
While inequity for women and girls persists, the need for an organisation like AEA remains.