2024 is a year of elections, both in the UK and around the world! 

Politics can often feel like a boys' club - but WRC want to encourage more women's voices in the decisions that matter to us! 

Women's Resource Centre has created a Speaking up for Women: 2024 Election Kit


Aside from the general election, there are other opportunities for voters to go to the polls this year, which may prove to be just as significant in determining how the UK is run for the next few years, especially locally. 

On 2nd May 2024 local, mayoral and police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections will be held across the UK. 

For small grassroots women's organisations, these elected representatives will decide a lot of local policies and commissioning priorities that will affect you and your service users. In turn, this can have a big effect on the funding your organisation receives. These elections aren't just about putting a cross in a box next to a candidate's name. It is a chance for people to engage in a conversation about what matters to them, vocalise the changes they want to see happen and elect people who will help make those changes. WRC wants to encourage women's organisations, and the women they work with, to make the most of this opportunity - to make their voices heard. This is why we have produced some resources that will hopefully help you and your service users to engage with candidates and hold them accountable to your concerns. 

What with local councils budgets being under immense strain, it is even more crucial that councils understand that they won't be able to simply quietly cut women's services - they need to know they will be held to account if they try.  

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) 

Whilst the importance of mayors and local councils is more evident and better documented, comparatively little is known about the role of PCCs. But for those seeking greater accountability from police forces - especially in light of the recent scandals plaguing the Metropolitan Police Service and issues with the police more broadly across the country - and for women worried about their safety, these elections matter a great deal. Not only are they supposed to monitor the police, they also have access to local budgets that your organisation could benefit from. With VAWG making up almost 16% of all recorded crime, funding VAWG organisations needs to be on their priority list. 

PCCs are not without issues in the way they run - but we know they undoubtedly work best in areas where they have strong relationships with local women's organisations. For example, when Dame Vera Baird was elected as the PCC for Northumbria in 2012, she made VAWG a priority. She helped launch the first-ever regional VAWG Strategy and made good links with local women's organisations to focus on prevention and early intervention. For example, she supported the Bright Futures community project that worked with young homeless women through street-based outreach work, at times when they might have been involved in alcohol misuse and further associated risks including criminal and anti-social behaviour. In her time as PCC, she established a Court Observer Panel and a Rape Scrutiny Panel - both of which were made up of experts from the voluntary and community sector that reviewed cases and procedures and produced reports and recommendations for how things could be improved. 

This clearly shows the ways in which electing Police and Crime Commissioners who will prioritise VAWG and other issues affecting women's rights can have a clear impact on the way these issues are responded to and addressed, and the avenues of influence that women's organisations can have as a result. 

Women make up over half the electorate. So let's use our voices in the run-up to these elections to demand that no decisions about us are made without us and that our priorities are their priorities. 

Speaking up for Women: 2024 Election Kit

REMEMBER: the deadline to register to vote for the May elections is 16 April. But even if people cannot vote, their voices still matter!