Former Wales Director awarded OBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

Published: 16 Jun 2017

Our 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.

Kate recently retired from her position at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), where she had served as National Director for Wales since the organisation’s formation in 2007. Before that, Kate was the Director of the Equal Opportunities Commission in Wales (1999 to 2007).

EHRC Commissioner for Wales June Milligan said:

"Kate has been at the forefront of efforts to take forward equality and human rights in Wales for nearly twenty years, inspiring and working with others to make Wales a fairer place to live and work. Her personal leadership and passion for equality and human rights has won her respect across sectors and services in Wales. I am delighted to see her work and her lasting contribution recognised in this way."

On hearing the news of her award, Kate Bennett said:

"My tribute is to the many people and organisations across Wales who are working to open up opportunities to all and to protect human rights. Much progress has been made, workplaces and politics are more diverse. Prejudice and exclusion has diminished and there is an understanding of how human rights can benefit us all. There is more to be done to ensure no one faces bullying, discrimination or violence at home, school, work or in the street. I look forward to that time."

Kate Bennett biography

Kate Bennett was appointed as the National Director for Wales for the newly-formed Equality and Human Rights Commission in September 2007. She retired from this post in November 2016.

Kate had previously been the Director of the Equal Opportunities Commission in Wales, a post she had held since 1999.

Kate’s priorities included an early focus on gender equality, working with social partners to narrow the pay gap and get more women into decision-making roles.

At the Commission, Kate worked with the Welsh Assembly on children’s rights and domestic abuse legislation, and with the Welsh Government on budgetary impact assessments and building strong networks across those involved in delivering public services.

Initiatives that Kate has led include: efforts to enhance access to justice through training schemes for  legal advisers in Wales; leading a Commission Inquiry across Britain examining adult deaths in detention that resulted in criminal justice agencies making improvements to safeguard lives; and the promotion of workplace policies to support people experiencing domestic abuse and people with mental health conditions.

Throughout her career Kate has been actively involved in equalities work. Prior to the EOC, Kate was a full time trade union official, community campaign worker and a research journalist.

Kate is currently a Director of Displaced People in Action.

Notes to editors

For further information, please contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales on 029 2044 7710.