Criteria for recognition
- Advocacy Groups must represent a religion or belief that is legally protected, or should be because it is consistent with the Equality Act (2010) definition. Alternatively, they may organise around any single aspect of any of the other protected characteristics.
- Advocacy Groups must be formed of at least five people (reviewed annually) who are both members of the group and members of the Women’s Equality Party.
- Agree to support the party’s seven core goals and abide by the constitution.
- Agree not to speak, or claim to speak, on behalf of the party and refrain from using party branding.
Resources and benefits
- Inclusion on a dedicated webpage listing all recognised advocacy groups within the party, including a way for the group to be contacted.
- The opportunity to present to a specifically arranged annual joint meeting of the Steering and Policy Committees subject to further guidance and specifications.
- Advocacy groups will be able to submit amendments to motions at conference.
- The right to organise a session at party conference, either in the main conference or as a fringe event, in agreement with the agenda committee.
- Central party, other party officers and party committees may consult recognised advocacy groups on statements, policies, public consultations, campaign and media strategies.
Frequently Asked Questions - Recognised Groups
Q: How do I get involved?
A: If your group is interested in being recognised as a caucus or advocacy group, please contact [email protected]. If you would like to join a caucus or contact an advocacy group, watch this space! Once groups have been recognised, we will update our website with the relevant information.
Q: How was this policy developed?
A: A motion was passed at conference to enable the representatives of recognised caucuses to become full members of the Steering Committee, and for the Steering Committee to set the criteria for how a group can become recognised as a caucus. The Steering Committee consulted with the Policy Committee and created a sub-committee to develop a fair, simple and workable policy for achieving this.
Q: What is the difference between caucuses and advocacy groups?
A: Caucuses are limited in number and represent different protected characteristics than advocacy groups. They are expected to represent a broader set of issues and identities than advocacy groups, and they are endorsed by the party. For that reason different requirements and benefits have been proposed. For example, a caucus is required to have a minimum of 35 members to gain recognition, while an advocacy group only has to have five, and a recognised caucus is entitled to a seat on the Steering Committee, while advocacy groups are instead given the opportunity to present to the Steering Committee.
Q: Why is there a cap on the number of caucuses that can be recognised?
A: It would not be workable to have a policy allowing limitless seats to be created on the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is already a large body (24 seats) and the practicalities of governance need to be considered.
Q: Why is sex not included as one of the protected characteristics around which a caucus may form?
A: Campaigning for women’s equality is the mission of the party as a whole and of all groups within it. The aim of this policy is to strengthen the party’s work to tackle discrimination at the intersections of women’s identities. On that basis the Steering Committee felt that all caucuses should be required to work at the intersection of discrimination against women and discrimination on grounds of the protected characteristic(s) they represent. A caucus based solely on the protected characteristic of sex would not be an intersectional caucus.
Q: Why is socio-economic status included as a protected characteristic?
A: At our 2020 party conference, a motion was passed calling on the Westminster government to update the Equality Act (2010) to include ‘socio economic status’ as a protected characteristic. The Steering Committee therefore felt that our caucus policy should reflect that.
Q: Why is religion and belief not included as one of the protected characteristics around which a caucus may form?
A: Because it is too broad and complex to allow one caucus to represent all aspects of that characteristic, especially as some beliefs may be in direct opposition (eg theisms vs atheism). And it would not be workable to have a policy allowing limitless seats to be created on the Steering Committee. Instead it is proposed that groups representing a religion or belief may be recognised as advocacy groups.
Q: Didn’t the motion require that all protected characteristics be given a seat?
A: The rationale for the motion suggested that any caucus that gains recognition should represent a protected characteristic, which is what our policy requires.
Q: Why do caucuses need to have 35 members?
A: The Steering Committee has tried to strike a balance between the requirements for elected Steering Committee members (who are typically elected by a minimum of 600 members) and the fact that caucuses exist to champion underrepresented groups. Requiring 35 members is a compromise that requires each caucus to demonstrate that it has recruited sufficient recognition and support within the party.
Q: Can the status of caucuses or advocacy groups be revoked?
A: A breach of criteria could lead to derecognition at the reasonable discretion of the Women’s Equality Party Executive Committee. Any such decision would be subject to review by members at party conference.
Q: Why don’t we endorse advocacy groups?
A: Advocacy Groups mobilise to influence party policy, and party policy is voted on by members at conference. It is also possible that two or more Advocacy Groups will form to represent oppositional beliefs, and the party cannot endorse both.