We welcome Katharine Sacks Jones, the Director of Agenda: the new alliance for women and girls, into post this week. The alliance will stimulate change in the way services respond to women and girls who have experienced multiple difficulties, and thus improve their life chances. Its members include voluntary organisations, funders, individuals and other interested parties.
The alliance marks a departure from campaigns looking at women from the perspective of a single issue (e.g. criminal justice, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence, mental ill-health etc). It will instead focus on effective responses to the problems of social inequality, violence, abuse and gender expectations that are the root cause of many problems in adolescence and adulthood.
Baroness Lola Young will chair Agenda. A member of the House of Lords since 2004, Baroness Young of Hornsey is an Independent Cross Bench peer and has been involved in campaigns criminalising and combating modern forms of enslavement, and improving the experiences of care leavers and children in care. She also chaired a recent review into how outcomes for young Black and Muslim male offenders could be improved.
Commenting on the launch of Agenda, Baroness Young said: “I’m delighted and excited to be chairing this very timely Alliance. Many of us have been concerned about the lack of change since Baroness Corston made her recommendations for women in the criminal justice system 8 years ago. To ensure the needs of vulnerable women and young girls are kept high on the political agenda at a cross-departmental level, a collective response is absolutely crucial.
“Addressing the issue by reframing it and looking at the whole woman/girl, rather than as the responsibility or ‘problem’ of an individual service makes complete sense. The organisational and structural constraints of working with individual departments are abundantly clear. An overhaul of the system that brings a whole new approach, one that allows shared action to flourish, will re-energise and lift the sector out of a system that currently appears to be trapped by its own processes.”
Find out more about Agenda here.
Agenda is funded by Lankelly Chase, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Pilgrim Trust and Monument Trust.