Women and the EU Referendum – Resources for Women in Wales

Wednesday June 15th, 2016

Women and the EU Referendum

Whatever the outcome of the EU Referendum on the 23rd June 2016, it will have a significant impact on the lives of women and girls in Wales. We are therefore concerned by reports that women’s voices are being marginalised in the debates surrounding this important event.

As an organisation, WEN Wales does not have a position on whether or not the UK should leave the European Union, but we do want to promote healthy discussion about the issues and make sure that women in Wales have the information they need to make up their own minds about how to vote.

Women’s Voices in the EU Referendum Debate

Analysis by the University of Loughborough has shown that men have received 91% of EU Referendum coverage in newspapers and 84% of the coverage on broadcast media.  Yvette Cooper MP has called the debate  “male and stale” and there is evidence that this aggressive, male-dominated approach is off-putting for women.  Both the stay and leave campaigns have set up groups for women, but an ICM poll conducted for the Fawcett Society found that the campaigns are failing to engage women.

BMG poll conducted for the Electoral Reform Society found that men are twice as likely to feel well-informed about the EU Referendum compared to women (21 per cent of men compared to 10 per cent of women). In an article in Open Democracy John Mortimer from the Electoral Reform Society said that this “suggests the campaigns – and the media coverage of those campaigns – aren’t reaching out of the Westminster bubble or targeting groups outside of middle-aged to elderly men”.

This is concerning because the more well-informed a person perceives themselves to be, the more likely they are to vote.

“Both sides in the EU referendum debate need to address issues of concern to women and proactively engage them. So far the debate has been male dominated. The polls suggest that women are largely undecided, so there is all to play for. We need a process and an outcome that includes women and represents their views.” The Fawcett Society, The EU Referendum


Resources for Women

In response to these concerns, WEN Wales has produced this list of resources which present the key issues in a way that is relevant to women. We hope that individual women will find the resources helpful and that women’s organisations will use the information to stimulate discussion within their groups and networks.

Background to the EU and the Referendum

For an excellent general briefing on the EU Referendum which has been written for women, please see The Scottish Women’s Convention’s Guide to the EU Referendum.

For a great briefing on the EU directives and legislation that affects women, check out Engender Scotland’s briefing on The EU Referendum and Gender Equality.

The Campaigns

‘Women IN’ is a network of women working in Britain campaigning for the UK to remain a member of the EU. It is part of the larger ‘Britain Stronger in Europe‘ campaign.

Women for Britain is the group representing women, their families and their futures in the campaign for a leave vote in the EU referendum. It is part of the larger Vote Leave campaign.


Women Debating the EU Referendum

These resources present both sides of the debate with a specific focus on women’s issues.


Are Women Better off in or out of the EU?

These resources make the case for women staying or leaving the EU.

Arguments that women should vote to leave the EU

Arguments that women should vote to stay in the EU

General Resources

The debates are very passionate on both sides, but this can be confusing. Here are some general resources that aim to provide people with the facts and clarity in relation to the EU Referendum.

Wales and the EU Referendum

The situation in Wales is different to the rest of the UK. One of the key issues is funding because Wales is a beneficiary of EU funds designed to help poorer areas. Here are some resources that consider the implications of the Referendum for Wales.

News Sites

These sites provide well-researched articles on the Referendum.