Wakefield councillors vote to set up working group looking at harassment against women

Wakefield Council will set up a working group to look into the issue of harassment against women in the workplace.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 9:08 am
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 9:10 am
Wakefield Council's chamber in the Town Hall.

Elected councillors unanimously voted in favour of a motion highlighting the plight of female employees, many of whom face discrimination while doing their jobs.

The motion, which was put forward by Wakefield s opposition Conservative group at a full council meeting on Wednesday, noted the widespread shock at the death of Sarah Everard in London earlier this month.

The incident has sparked protests and vigils drawing attention to ongoing violence and harassment against women.

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Protests and vigils drawing attention to the issue have been held across the country.

Conservative councillor Cynthia Binns, who spoke in support of the motion, said: "As councillors we are a corporate employer to a large number of women and quite rightly we have a duty to them.

"We need to do everything we can in our power to leave no stone unturned in shining a light on harassment against women."

Coun Binns said the council may already have have policies and procedures in place to deal with harassment, but urged members to be "forward-looking" and "pro-active" in looking at what else could be done.

She said not doing so, would "run the risk of being seen as out-of-touch, ill-equipped and disinterested" in tackling the problem.

She added: "Harassment is contemptible and when it's perpetrated against women it's degrading and reprehensible."

The motion, which also included a proposal for the council to appoint a "champion" for women in the workplace, received cross-party support.

Frontline Labour councillor Maureen Cummings told the meeting: "I welcome this motion. I believe women in the workplace, whether it's in the council or in any other workplace, should be protected.

"Anything that can help them be free from fear is a good thing.

"The council does have a strategy and a policy to deal with harassment, not just against women, but men too, which is reviewed every year.

"But I welcome scrutiny of what we do as a council to help and support women.

"No woman should be afraid of living their life."

Local Democracy Reporting Service