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Pop your pinny on to help thousands of women

There's something especially delicious about a cake made by someone you know. Which is why, every year, we ask Queens of Cakes to get baking and host a Strawberry Tea to raise money for a very good cause - Breast Cancer Care.

Holding a Strawberry Tea is simple and fun to do; whether you organise a picnic on a sunny day, have an afternoon tea with sumptuous homemade baking, or liven up your office tea break with strawberry cakes.

Maria Williamson (pictured) has been a supporter of Breast Cancer Care since she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. She has been hosting a Strawberry Tea at her house ever since.

People really enjoy the social element and I feel I'm giving something back to a charity that has helped me and is now helping a lot of other people. Putting on a Strawberry Tea is something anyone can do. People are so generous - last year we raised more than £600 and there were only 25 of us.'

To register to host a Strawberry Tea and receive a fundraising pack:


Or call: 0870 164 9422

Thank you for getting involved with Strawberry Tea - we couldn't do it without you.

To Women's Network

The Regional Women's Committee would like to encourage you all to celebrate International Women's day and Women's History month (March).

Information has previously been sent to you about the SW TUC event on 8th March and the Oxfam suggestion in the information below. Please display the attached poster and distribute and enjoy the special International Women's Day newsletter.

The next Regional Women's news will be out on March 4th and is focussing on the impact of the public sector cuts on women.

Womens history month poster

Women's IWD newsletter March 2011

WRC enews 25 January 2011


is a very powerful word. Too often the world tells women don't.  We want to celebrate women who Do.  Achieving amazing things against the odds. Oxfam wants to celebrate the incredible achievements of women around the world.  We are asking you to have a bit of a Do of your own and raise money at the same time, helping us to empower women across the globe so that next year we'll have even more to celebrate.

The idea is simple do dinner, do drinks, or do dancing - it's your Do. Just make sure that however you celebrate, you do during the week of March 8th, alongside thousands of women celebrating International Women's Day. We will support you to help to make your ‘Do' an event to remember - from party ideas, to discussion topics, from simple recipes to complex cocktails.

You will also hear about some of the women who do, with Oxfam's support, have something to celebrate this year. Women like Karo, who escaped devastating conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is now raising her beautiful son, Happiness, in an Oxfam supported camp.

Oxfam know there is a long way to go before every woman can join this celebration. With over 1,000 women a day dying through maternal health issues and 40,000,000 girls not having the opportunity to go to school we know you'll agree that it is a worthwhile cause.

That's why every penny raised from your ‘Do' will go to support our work with women like Karo, and the millions of other women across the globe that need our help and support. Tackling issues close to every woman's heart, such as maternal health, access to education, the ability to feed their children, and an end to violence against women.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Oxfam Do and how you can join the celebration, get in touch with me on 07817944315 or e-mail me at, I will be very happy to hear from you.

Warmest regards,

Catherine Butt
Oxfam Bristol
Fundraising and Marketing Assistant


Employers must do more to support women through the menopause

To coincide with International Women's Day today (Tuesday), the TUC has published new guidance on how employers and union reps can work together to support women through the menopause at work.

The menopause is an important occupational health issue for the 3.5 million women over the age of 50 currently in work. The TUC believes that employers need to recognise that women of menopausal age may need extra consideration, as changes during the menopause can affect how a woman does her work, and her relationship with her boss and colleagues.

The TUC guidance is drawn from the experience of union health and safety representatives and also important new research published by the British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF) in conjunction with the University of Nottingham.

Supporting women through the menopause will help union reps raise the issue of the menopause in workplaces, and ensure that employers are aware that poor working conditions can aggravate symptoms.

Menopausal women can experience hot flushes, headaches, tiredness, sweating, anxiety attacks and an increase in stress levels. High workplace temperatures, poor ventilation, poor or non-existent rest or toilet facilities, or a lack of access to cold drinking water at work can make all of these symptoms worse, says the TUC.

Female staff have told the TUC their managers didn't recognise problems associated with the menopause - they speak of being criticised for menopause-related sick leave, their embarrassment at discussing the menopause with their employers, and being criticised or ridiculed by their managers on the subject.

The TUC believes that employers have a responsibility to take into account the difficulties that women may experience during the menopause, and that female workers should be able to expect support and assistance during what is, for many, a very difficult time.

The report suggests:

  • Employers should ensure that all line managers have been trained to know how the menopause can affect work and what adjustments may be necessary to support women who are experiencing the menopause.
  • Employers can highlight the menopause so all staff know that the workplace has a positive attitude to the issue. Guidance on how to deal with the menopause should be freely available.
  • Women should be given information of how they can get support for issues that arise as a result of the menopause. Some women will feel uncomfortable going to their line manager, especially if it is a man, and other options should be available through human resources, or a welfare officer.
  • Sickness absence procedures should cater for menopause-related sickness absence.
  • Working time arrangements should be flexible enough to ensure they meet the needs of menopausal women, who may require to leave work suddenly. They may also need more breaks during the day.
  • Risk assessments should consider the specific needs of menopausal women and ensure that the working environment will not make their symptoms worse. Issues that need looking at include temperature and ventilation. The assessments should also address welfare issues such as toilet facilities and access to cold water.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'We welcome the research published by BOHRF. Despite the increasingly large number of older women in employment, the menopause is rarely seen as a workplace issue.

'There is no excuse for the silence, embarrassment, confusion and inaction around the menopause - something which all women go through.

'The health of women in later years depends very much on their health when they are working through the menopause, and this report shows employers and unions can work together to do much more to protect them.'

- Supporting women through the menopause is available at

- The BOHRF research is available at

- International Women's Day is held on 8 March every year, and is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. For more information please visit

To the women's network

We know that women are being the most seriously affected by the spending cuts as they are both the largest users  and staff in the public sector.  UNISON is campaigning in a variety of ways to oppose the so-called austerity measures and present an alternative view.  We need to raise awareness among the general public and present examples of how it is really affecting us.  The Regional Women's committee is planning to publicise your stories in a special newsletter and also on the website.  We will also send them on to the National Women's officer who is working with the Fawcett Society to halt the Government's plans.

Please send in your experience which might include problems concerning  a change in your eligibility for benefits, care of  dependents or being served with a risk notice at work.  If it's difficult to email and you prefer to talk about it then please give me or Carol Thyer a ring and tell us how you're being affected.

Vicky Boroughs
Regional Women's and Equalities' Officer
Tel: 01823 285314
Mob: 07786195307

Women are biggest losers in Government cuts gamble

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, warned that women are bearing the brunt of the Government's savage cuts agenda while the bankers who caused the recession escape blame, in a speech to delegates at UNISON's National Women's Conference in Harrogate today (18 February).

Two thirds of public sector workers, who face huge job losses and cuts, are women. Women also rely heavily on the vital services, often carrying the burden of caring for children, relatives, the vulnerable and the sick.

The 650 conference delegates represent the one million women members of UNISON who work across the public sector, including nurses, teaching assistants, careers advisors, social workers and librarians.

General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said:

"Just this week unemployment rose again to 2.5 million and this toll will climb higher in the months to come, with half a million public service workers thrown out of work.

"At least two thirds of those workers are likely to be women - probably more, since women work in the jobs which are most vulnerable to cuts.

"Even if women manage to hold onto their jobs many will still be hit by either losing working tax credits, or child benefit.

"The greedy bankers who caused the recession must be properly held to account and the mega-rich forced to pay their fair share towards the recovery.

"We know the country faces tough choices, but that means getting tough with those who have had it easy for far too long."