Feminist Library Equality and Diversity Policy
1.1 In carrying out its functions as charitable organisation, The Feminist Library is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all, and to ensure that no individual is discriminated against in the planning and delivery of any of our activities.
1.2 We therefore aim to ensure that the values of equality, diversity, and respect for all are embedded into everything that we do.
1.3 The Feminist Library is an anti-sectarian, intersectional feminist space. We will not tolerate sexism, homophobia, racism, transphobia, nor oppressive language or behaviour based on any structural inequality, including disability, socio-economic status, sexuality, age, education, religious affiliation or gender expression, class, mental health, nationality or language.
1.4 The Feminist Library accepts that in society groups and individuals are oppressed and, as a service provider, it is committed to taking steps to remedy this situation .The Feminist Library is convinced that it is wrong to hinder equality of opportunity on these grounds and furthur recognises that passive policies will not in themselves provide equality of opportunity for all potential and actual users.
1.5 The Feminist Library recognised that conscious or unconscious attitudes and work practises of it and its staff will influence the way that its service is provided to different individuals and groups. It recognises that as a resource the service provided should not assist in perpetuating the disadvantage of particular groups of individuals in society. The Feminist Library will actively work to ensure that its services are genuinely equally and freely available to all people.
1.6 The Feminist Library is a collective space, and as such all who use the space – both the physical Library and its virtual social media spaces – are responsible for maintaining it as a safe and welcoming one. It should not be the sole responsibility of those who are marginalised or oppressed by the use of others’ language or behaviours to point this out – everyone who uses the space should attempt to have an awareness of others.
2. About our policy
This policy is intended to demonstrate The Feminist Library’s commitment
to eliminating discrimination and encouraging and valuing diversity among
staff, volunteers, partners, suppliers, users of our services and Trustees.
We recognise our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010, and are committed to meeting them in full. We believe that a culture that embraces equality and values diversity will help us to ensure that everyone feels involved and included in our plans, programmes and activities.
We aim to create an environment which respects and welcomes everyone, and in which no form of bullying, harassment, disrespectful or discriminatory behaviour is tolerated by anyone towards anyone. This particularly applies in relation to the ‘protected characteristics’ named in the Equality Act 2010:
These are: age, disability, gender reassignment, income, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
3. Our responsibilities
The Feminist Library understands that for equality to be achieved this policy needs to be made understandable to, and embraced by staff, volunteers, suppliers, partners and trustees.
This policy will be subject to agreement with any trade union which staff choose to join or to which they belong. The policy is fully supported and welcomed by all staff and volunteers and has been agreed by our Board of Trustees.
All staff, volunteers, suppliers, partners and Trustees have a responsibility to ensure that their own language and actions are consistent with the spirit as well as the contents of this policy. We are all responsible for maintaining the space, both physical and virtual, and safeguarding those who use it.
Overall responsibility for the implementation of this policy lies with the Feminist Library’s Management Group and Trustees. As such where necessary we will act using their best judgement to diffuse situations, including requesting that individuals vacate the premises, or in the case of virtual encounters, acting to close down discussions and/or remove individuals in order to prevent the wellbeing of other users being violated, and to protect the wellbeing of members of the collective.
3.5 In the case of violation of this policy we will support any affected users, volunteers or staff, by providing a formal complaint process and organise mediation as appropriate between the affected parties
4.1 The Feminist Library recognises that an Equality and Diversity Policy alone is not enough to ensure that equality and diversity are central to everything that we do.
4.2 We will seek to create an environment in which diversity and the contributions of all staff, volunteers, suppliers, partners and trustees are recognised and valued in all that we do. In this way we hope to provide an example of good equality practice and promote community cohesion.
4.3 In introducing this policy we recognise that many people are unfamiliar with the ways in which discrimination and disadvantage affect people’s health, well-being and quality of life. We will therefore support people to develop equalities awareness and understanding.
To ensure that we are meeting the aims and the spirit of this policy we will:
- a) assess any significant new or revised policies and procedures for their impact on equality
- b) Embed equality and diversity into our development planning, event planning and Library management.
- c) Discuss and review annually how well we are implementing this policy, and (adjust our practices/develop an action plan) where necessary.
- d) Ensure our employment practices and procedures and volunteer management are consistent with the aims of this policy.
5. Groups and Partners
5.1 The Feminist Library respects the needs of user groups to organise autonomously within the Library, provided they adhere to our Equality and Diversity while they hold events.
5.2 Working with contractors, suppliers and partners it is important to us that suppliers, contractors and any other individual or organisation working on behalf of The Feminist Library adhere to our Equality and Diversity Policy.
In addition we are committed to:
- any ‘women only’ events organised at the Library must be inclusive of all self-identifying women, and we ask groups to make this clear when promoting events. No group is permitted to organise events contrary to this at the Library.
- using accessible venues for events and meetings;
- using plain English, and offering accessible communications, for example, emails, letters, reports and publicity materials as far as it is within our means to do so.
6. Review and Action
6.1 Please let members of the Feminist Library collective know if you wish to make us aware of any issues or request that we intervene in accordance with this policy. You can contact us with questions or concerns via: firstname.lastname@example.org
6.2 If you feel that someone has acted inappropriately, try to let them know in a thoughtful manner. If someone suggests your words or actions have been inappropriate, equally try to receive this in a considered and thoughtful way. It is in everyone’s interests to be able to challenge oppressive behaviour in our community.
6.2 We recognise that it is important for us to regularly review this policy to ensure that it reflects up to date equality legislation and best practice. A review of our Equality and Diversity Policy will be carried out annually as a minimum and any necessary actions taken.
6.3 Please also let us know if you can suggest any improvements to the Equality and Diversity, which has been agreed by consensus within the Feminist Library collective. It is part of an ongoing dialogue and is open to changes needed to best serve the needs of our community.