Feminist run Fawcett Society may be crossing a legal line, playing politics under the umbrella of a charity.
To any reasonable person (militant feminists are by definition excluded) the long-established militant feminist campaign group the Fawcett Society must be considered a deeply politically-motivated organisation. It also benefits considerably from being a registered charity, and we’ve already publicly declared our intention to challenge its charitable status – and that of the Women’s Resources Centre – at some point. The guidelines set by the Charity Commission concerning the differences between campaigning and political activity are complex, but we’ve already received a legal opinion that a challenge of Fawcett’s charitable status would be worth undertaking.
For some reason the latest annual reports viewable on Fawcett’s website are those for 2008/9 but if you log onto the Charity Commission’s website you can view the annual reports up to the latest registered one, for 2011/12. So let’s have a look at 2007/8 and 2011/12 reports, to get a flavor of Fawcett’s sources of funding under a Labour government and our current Conservative-led coalition government.
2007/8 accounts (Labour government)
Key income streams:
Home Office £42,000
Dept Communities & Local Government £19,950
Equal Opportunities Commission (the body which preceded the Equality & Human Rights Commission): £10,000
Electoral Commission £10,866
So, left-wing politicians are diverting taxpayer’s money to a deeply left-wing and anti-male campaigning organisation. Quelle surprise. I was particularly intrigued by the Electoral Commission donation to Fawcett, so I asked the Commission about the matter.
The payment to the Fawcett Society that you refer to was a grant awarded as part of the Commission’s Partnership Grants Scheme. The purpose of the scheme was for the Commission to work with organisations to increase democratic participation (with a particular emphasis on voter registration) and to raise awareness of how local, national and European democracy is organised and how decisions are made. The scheme ran from 2007, and as far as I am aware, stopped in 2010.
The specific project that the Fawcett Society were awarded a grant for related to increasing the voter registration rates, and general understanding of the democratic process of women from black and ethnic minority communities. Although we no longer have any current information on our website, there is some further information here at http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=634
To save you a little time, the link leads you to the following gem which magically transforms black and ethic minority women’s reluctance to vote, into ‘political exclusion’. Incredible, even by Fawcett’s consistently low standards.
Fawcett’s campaign working directly with ethnic minority women on political empowerment and actively addressing political exclusion.
Ninety years on since women in the UK first won the vote, ethnic minority women remain one of the most excluded groups from formal political and decision making processes. Black Caribbean and Black African people are amongst the least likely to vote; Black Caribbean and Black African women are particularly unlikely to turn out to vote. The severe underrepresentation of ethnic minority women in British politics, coupled with low voter registration rates amongst some ethnic minority groups, has resulted in ethnic minority women’s exclusion from the political system. In reality this means ethnic minority women are not being seen or heard politically.
At the heart of our two year is campaign is direct work with ethnic minority women on their political empowerment. With support from the Electoral Commission, femocracy will work with over 1500 ethnic minority women across the country through a series of events in London, Birmingham, Burnley, Cardiff and Glasgow. The events will provide an opportunity for those who attend to raise their awareness of how politics impacts on their lives, learn about how UK political institutions work and meet with ethnic minority women politicians and political activists.
Femocracy addresses the political invisibility and silence of one of the most excluded groups from formal political and decision making processes.
Just one question. How can this campaign – like many other Fawcett campaigns – not be deemed deeply political? There’s not one word of concern about the ‘political exclusion’ of black and ethic minority men. But they mainly vote Labour, so there’s no problem to be tackled by the unfortunately energetic ladies at Fawcett.
2011/12 annual report (Conservative-led coalition government)
Key income streams (page 15):
Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust £93,000
ROSA (www.rosa.org – ‘the first UK-wide fund for projects working with women and girls’. It’s a ‘charitable fund’) £45,000
London Councils £17,965
Barrow Cadbury Trust £12,000
Feminist Review Trust £9,811
Trust for London £4,668
(UNISON donated £30,368 in 2010/11 but nothing in 2011/12)
The website of Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is worth visiting, given they donated £93,000 in 2011/12. I see the Trust’s chair is a women (Margaret Bryan) as is the Head of Finance (Jackie Turpin).
Trust for London describes itself as ‘a charitable organisation that exists to reduce poverty and inequality in London.’
So charities, unions, and councils are financing a militant feminist ‘charity’. We plan to raise public awareness of this scandal. This blog post is only the start.