Race Disparity Audit: It's Now Time For Action

Sajda Mughal OBE
Today, there are as many refugees and internally displaced people around the world as the entire British population.

Last week the governments' audit on race disparity revealed deeply ingrained disparities that exist across the UK, the data unequivocally points to disadvantage for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The Race Disparity Audit lays bare what many will argue, has been known for a long time, it does however bring the injustice and inequality into the mainstream. Conveyed in the audit, and a further report by think tank Runnymede, is the disproportionate negative impact that austerity and other government policies have on BAME women. Consequently, making life harder for BAME women, and subsequently increasing marginalisation, an issue the charity JAN Trust has been tacking since its' establishment in 1989.

Although the audit clearly outlines race disparities it fails to clearly outline the causes. As stated in the Guardian, Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid told BBC Radio 4's Today "There are hundreds of thousands of Pakistani or Bangladeshi women who don't speak proper English or hardly speak it at all. "That might be through choice in some cases, a cultural issue. But it is a big issue because it does then hold those women back from the employment market and other opportunities."

For the last 30 years the JAN Trust has sought to work with vulnerable BAME women, many of whom are Pakistani and Bangladeshi, to encourage, educate and empower these women. Thus, enabling them to begin to overcome the causes of disparities outlined in the audit. The JAN Trust runs educational programmes, which enable key skills empowerment, including English lessons, as well as providing practical skills training, providing women with the knowledge and confidence to access and participate in wider society, including access to further education and employment.

The work done by the JAN Trus not only enable users to access to parcipate in wider socitey but users have also highlighted that they now feel that have a sense of 'self-worth' and have gained respect from society; they feel they are taken seriously as their English and confidence has improved as well as their knowledge of systems in the UK.

David Lammy MP tweeted today "Racial disparity audit - We can't afford more talking shops. We've had a lot of talk, it's now time for action."

It is the outcomes of this audit that are now significant; it is imperative that the audit creates a climate for progress and change. Progress must be facilitated in a number of ways but it is now more important than ever that the government begins to recognise and support the work of grassroots organisations like JAN Trust. As well as implementing a system whereby it is possible to target and monitor progress in tacking racial disparities nationwide.

If the work of organisations such as the JAN Trust is widely supported it allows us to begin to tackle disadvantages, and a chance at creating a more even playing field for BAME women who today are defined by systematic racism and discrimination in the UK.

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