'The biggest challenge we’ve faced has been responding to the increase in gender-based violence': Cross Government Gender Network

2020 may have been a year like no other, but 2021 was a chip off the old block and relentless from day one. The Cross Government Gender Network tells us about 12 more months of dealing with the impact of Covid while pushing ahead with new challenges
A vigil for Sarah Everard in Sheffield in March 2021. Everard was abducted, raped and murdered by serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens. Photo: Tim Dennell/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

By Civil Service World

20 Dec 2021


What was your highlight of 2021?

Members of the Cross Government Gender Network are usually the leads of gender-related staff networks or include gender equality within their priorities. The CGGN committee supports our members by facilitating working together in order to advance gender equality across the civil service in various ways. 

Our highlights for 2021 include sharing gender pay gap analysis to support staff networks in considering solutions specific to their departments. We’ve also worked with experts to host a panel on period health and period poverty, including sharing resources on how to break down the stigma of discussing support for colleagues in the workplace.

How did you tackle the biggest challenges facing your organisation in 2021?

The biggest challenge we’ve faced together this year has been responding to the increase in gender-based violence. We’ve hosted member meetings to discuss the impact of gender-based violence due to the increase of domestic abuse during Covid-19 lockdowns. We’ve come together to offer support for those who have been deeply impacted by the murders of women in public places. We’ve shared our ideas on how to make real change happen when it comes to the elimination of gender-based violence, including small changes that can take place in departments.

What is your number one priority for 2022?

Our main priority for 2022 will be continuing to strengthen our links with our membership through regular communications, events and all member meetings. In addition, to continue to work closely with our gender champion Antonia Romeo.  We are also looking to strengthen and develop our central steering committee and the four workstreams which make up our priorities, with a wider pool of keen volunteers to help us. A massive thank you to everyone involved in all our events, comms, policy and membership work in 2021.
Which historical, mythical or contemporary figure would you most like to join you for a New Year’s Eve celebration?

In keeping with this year’s discussions around gender-based violence, we’d invite Medusa to see in the new year with.  Raped by a god and punished for her own rape by her goddess, Medusa was made monstrous by a patriarchal society which blamed her for her assault, made her into an object of fear, banished her from society and had her murdered as part of a so-called heroic quest. 

What did that story tell the young women of Greek society? What do the countless retellings seek to tell us now? 


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