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News and events in Wales

Mae’r dudalen hon yn rhoi manylion newyddion a datganiadau i’r wasg sy’n berthnasol i Gymru a digwyddiadau a chynadleddau yr ydym yn eu trefnu neu’n cyfranogi ynddynt.

Dr Alison Parken

Wales Committee Member Dr Alison Parken receives her OBE

Congratulations to our Wales Committee Member Alison Parken, who was at Buckingham Palace today receiving her OBE for services to equality and diversity.

Alison said:

‘I’m delighted to receive this award. It’s in my name but entirely due to the inspirational and dedicated equalities champions from all walks of life that I’ve so enjoyed working with in Wales over many years. There’s still much more to do!’

Speaking of her achievement, Chair of the Wales Committee June Milligan, said:

‘This honour is richly deserved. Alison has been a tireless champion for equality and human rights for many years. Her research has helped shape the way we understand and tackle inequalities here in Wales.

‘I am very pleased to see Alison’s expertise and passion recognised – these are attributes that Alison brings to her role as an EHRC Wales Committee Member. I am sure Alison will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to create a fairer Wales.’

Human Rights in the 21st Century – annual human rights lecture

We are pleased to announce that David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, will be delivering our annual human rights lecture. The lecture, Human Rights in the 21st Century, will be held at 5.30pm on 20 February 2018 at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

David will be discussing the possible impact of Brexit on our human rights and outlining some of the key projects being undertaken by the Commission now and in the future.

Tickets are limited. Secure your ticket via Eventbrite

Ruth Coombs' essay for Anti-bullying week published in the Western Mail

The theme for this year’s anti-bullying week – All Different, All Equal – provides a real opportunity to highlight that far too many children and young people in Wales are bullied in school because of their race, faith, disability, sexuality or gender identity.

Identity-based bullying is any form of bullying that relates to the characteristics perceived to be part of a person’s identity or identity group. It can include stigmatising a disabled student, using homophobic language, trying to pull off a Muslim student’s hijab or pupils being subject to unwanted touching.

This week we have launched an animation to highlight the scale and impact of bullying in schools. Evidence from our Is Wales Fairer? report shows that up to fifty per cent of pupils will experience bullying in Wales, with certain groups of children and young people even more likely to be bullied. Identity-based bullying can have long term implications. It can harm children and young people’s wellbeing and impact on their educational attainment and potential. Given this evidence we have prioritised the need to reduce identity-based bulling.

The aims of this year’s anti-bullying week are to:

  • empower children and young people to celebrate what makes them, and others, unique
  • help children and young people feel valued and included in school, enabling them to be themselves without fear of bullying
  • encourage parents and carers to work with their school and talk to their children about bullying, difference and equality
  • enable teachers and professionals who work with children to celebrate what makes us ‘all different, all equal’ and to take individual and collective action to prevent bullying

Tackling identity-based bullying should be a priority for all schools in Wales. Estyn’s new inspection framework recognises this need.

I have very much welcomed the opportunity to work in partnership with the Children’s Commissioner to develop an anti-bullying resource for secondary schools in Wales. Sam’s story – it will get better includes five interactive teaching and learning sessions to be delivered in schools to raise awareness of identity-based bullying. The resource also includes top tips for head teachers to tackle identity-based bullying. I would encourage all schools in Wales to utilise these tips.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission regulates the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), which requires schools to take action to improve outcomes for pupils with different protected characteristics. It means that schools must consciously consider the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.

Schools should have a PSED objective to tackle identity-based bullying and set out the steps they will take to achieve this, including monitoring and recording identity-based bullying. By doing so, schools will be better able to identify whether actions they are taking to tackle identity-based bullying are successful.

We hope our resources will help schools carry out this duty. 

Let’s celebrate difference and help more children and young people feel safe and realise their potential.

Ruth Coombs, Head of Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission

Welsh Government pledge to Working Forward on pregnancy and maternity rights at work

The Welsh Government has committed to take action to attract, develop and retain women at work by signing up to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's coalition of Working Forward employers.

Shan Morgan signing the Working Forward pledge with June Milligan

Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Government said:

“I’m very pleased Welsh Government is pledging to Working Forward on pregnancy and maternity rights. I think this is a really important initiative. We have already made a number of positive changes including enabling women to retain IT equipment such as mobile phones and laptops during their maternity leave to enable them to have a smooth transition on their return as well as improving our financial arrangements to ensure there is greater flexibility to fund maternity leave cover. Through our Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan we are committed to supporting women through pregnancy, maternity leave and their return to work. This is part of our responsibility as a good employer and makes sure that women returning to work in the Welsh Government can prosper and maximise their contribution.”

June Milligan, EHRC Commissioner and Chair of the Commission's Wales Committee said:

“We are delighted the Welsh Government has committed to take action to attract, develop and retain women in the workplace as part of Working Forward. The Welsh Government becomes one of over 150 organisations making this commitment, including other significant public and private sector employers in Wales. This step responds to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's workplace research and the evidence of what action can be taken to ensure women’s talent is nurtured and valued.”

Working Forward, established by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, follows its landmark research which shows pregnancy and maternity discrimination and disadvantage at work affects around 390,000 pregnant women and new mothers across Britain each year.

It highlights that, while the majority of Welsh employers (87 per cent) say they are firm supporters of female staff during and after pregnancy and find it easy to comply with the law, 71 per cent of mothers say they have had a negative or possibly discriminatory experience at work.

Members, which include large and small employers from across the private and public sector, help to drive long-term cultural change by signing up to action in at least 2 areas such as:

  • Demonstrating leadership from the top down

  • Ensuring confident employees

  • Training and supporting line managers

  • Offering flexible working practices

Over 150 organisations throughout Britain are members of Working Forward. Welsh employers include: Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, BT, Cardiff University Business School, Carmarthenshire County Council, Coleg y Cymoedd, Deloitte, Dwr Cymru, Dyfed Powys Police, Ford, Legal & General, NPT Colleges, QLS, South Wales Police and Wales and West Utilities.

Working Forward offers members resources and materials to suit business needs and the chance to become part of a growing community of members, sharing tips, advice and knowledge to make experiences better for pregnant women and new mothers .

For more information and to pledge your support today, visit the Working Forward campaign page.

Kate Bennett, former National Director for Wales, awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list

EHRC Commissioner for Wales June Milligan has congratulated Kate Bennett, former National Director for Wales at the Commission, on being awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Kate has been awarded the honour for services to equality and human rights following nearly twenty years’ service in the public sector in Wales and a career dedicated to the creation of a fairer society.

Read the full statement 

Equality and Human Rights Exchange Conference 2017

We have set the date for our annual Equality and Human Rights Exchange Conference.

This year we will be holding the conference at Cardiff City Stadium, on 6 July 2017.

We will be sharing more details around the content of the conference in the coming weeks.

If you have an questions please contact us at

New Head of the Commission in Wales

We’re delighted to announce that, following a competitive recruitment exercise, Ruth Coombs will be joining us on 3 April 2017 as the new Head of the Commission in Wales.

Ruth brings with her a wealth of experience of working at a strategic level within influential charity and public sector organisations, and of leading diverse teams through a range of challenges and towards achieving success.

Ruth is currently the Head of British Heart Foundation (BHF) Cymru where she is the face and presence for the BHF in Wales, working collaboratively to raise not only their profile but also the combined impact of services throughout Wales. She has an expert understanding of the Welsh context and a wealth of experience in the equality sector gained through her diverse career history including roles at Mind Cymru and a commendable sabbatical working for the Mitengo Women Association in Zambia, all after a very successful career as a teacher and head teacher.

We congratulate Ruth and look forward to welcoming her to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Last updated: 11 May 2018