Why women-only services matter
Nottingham Women’s Centre is a women-only service. We recognise that women still face significant inequality in society and have needs that are distinct from the needs of men. For example:
- Women’s unemployment in 2011 is at its highest level for 23 years.
- A 2011 report by the Chartered Management Institute suggests that equal pay for women is still nearly 100 years away.
- In the UK, on average two women each week are killed by a violent male partner or former partner.
- Worldwide, an estimated 1 in 3 women will be physically or sexually abused; and 1 in 5 will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime (World Health Organisation, 1997).
- The 2007 Corston Report on women in the criminal justice system highlighted that the complex and multiple needs of women who offend are often overlooked.
- Only 22% of UK MPs are women and the number of women in the Cabinet is at a 10 year low.
- A 2011 report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies on the Coalition Government’s changes to tax and benefits showed that single women, and lone mothers in particular, stand to lose a higher proportion of their income than any other group.
We believe that women-only services are vital to addressing these issues.
Women-only services have far-reaching benefits:
- They allow women to feel both physically and emotionally safe. As a result, women feel supported to develop confidence, greater independence and higher self-esteem.
- In a women-only environment, women are less marginalised and isolated and feel more able to express themselves.
- This benefits society – women are more likely to go on to work or volunteer and health problems are prevented, saving the state millions of pounds per year.
Women want to have the choice of women-only services
- Some women will not access mixed services. Their needs would not be met at all if women-only services did not exist.
- 97% of women stated that a woman should have the choice of accessing a women-only support service if they had been the victim of a sexual assault.
- 78% thought it was important to have the choice of a woman professional for counselling and personal support needs.
Information about women-only services adapted from the ‘Why women-only’ report, produced by the Women’s Resource Centre in 2007.