Transforming Together atten...

Transforming Together attend 1Million Women and Girls’ Mayoral Debate

March 2024

3 Min Read

On Wednesday 14th March 2024, a Mayoral candidate debate took place at Newcastle Civic Centre organised by the One Million Women and Girls Campaign (1MW&G) group. 1MW&G are a broad-based group of women working together to ensure a wide range of voices of women and girls are brought into the campaign for the new Mayor of the North East, who will be elected on 2 May 2024. All five candidates standing to be elected as Mayor of the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority (NEMCA) were invited to share what practical steps they would take to improve the lives of the one million women and girls living in our region. 

Members of the Changing Lives team and three Lived Experience Researchers attended the debate as representatives of the Transforming Together network. Transforming Together is a network of local practitioners, government decision-makers, and women of multiple unmet need, facilitated by Agenda Alliance and Changing Lives. The network’s purpose is to work together to create real systems-chance across support services, to better meet the needs of all women in the region. 

With this in mind, those who attended had the opportunity to ask the following question of the mayoral candidates on behalf of the network: 

The report by Agenda Alliance and Changing Lives, Dismantling Disadvantage, published in July 2023 found that, in 2021, a woman in the North East of England was 1.7 times more likely to die early as a result of suicide, addiction, or murder by a partner or family member than in the rest of England and Wales. 

What strategy/plan would you prioritise to prevent premature deaths of women across the region who have multiple unmet needs?” 

Transforming Together Coordinator Jess Trotter said, “I found the debate really empowering, I was inspired to be in a room of so many powerful, passionate women. The panel was very informative however I wish more time had been spent answering the Transforming Together Network’s question around premature deaths of women in the North East.”  

Chloe shared: 

"I thought the event was really interesting, it was lovely to hear woman speaking up for themselves and getting the answers they need . It was exciting to hear our question getting asked and also answered, but I still think that our question didn’t get answered as much as it should have."

Haley echoed some of these thoughts: “It was a pleasure as always to see so many women all with the same goal in one room which was really empowering and really made me proud to be a Geordie. I was excited and waited patiently to hear Laura's name be called which as always she delivered the question with such heart & passion on behalf of us, those gone too soon & those working with women who really hope for change. I really hope the Mayor listens, gets involved and has a passion for [enacting] big changes for women and girls."

Both women highlighted the necessity of increased funding for public services, with Chloe saying: “I hope the new mayor listens to us woman and girls more, to let us speak out and make sure our voices get heard. Also to get the funding we need to make sure recovery groups or groups for woman can stay open.”  

Haley agreed, saying: “I hope they help get funding or build connections that will help with funding, to fund the likes of youth groups to stop children, especially girls, falling through gaps in their communities. Also to help with more groups for women to access, to deal with their traumas.”  

The future Mayor, as a significant power-holder, will have the ability to convene governmental and public service bodies across the region, such as a specialist ‘Women and Girl’s Multiple Disadvantage taskforce, and commit funding to create the change these women need. 

The network has published a set of pledges they hope each Mayoral candidate will agree to enact, should they be elected. Only then will the new Mayoral Combined Authority for the North East truly be ‘levelling up’ the lives of women with multiple unmet needs. 

You can catch up on the debate here - - using passcode: 5h@+f^dU