Aerial view of the West Midlands including Birmingham

Equalities taskforce appoints new chair

West Midlands Combined Authority has announced that it’s Race Equalities Taskforce will be led by a new chair, following the appointment of Sharonjit Clare.

Clare will take over from the previous chair, Yetunde Dania, who led the taskforce as it published its very first five-year strategy to make sure that opportunities for local people are provided no matter their race, ethnicity, and heritage. The taskforce was established by the Mayor of the West Midlands and the WMCA board to ensure that the success of the region is felt by everyone, working to address the specific issues that are faced by under-represented communities.

Born and raised in the area, Clare has experience working in financial services, whilst she has become a key influencer in the West Midlands thanks to her powerful advocacy for equality and inclusion. This influence has seen her address a number of areas of the work done by the authority, including economic policy and women’s safety. Women’s safety work was done as part of her role as co-chair of West Midlands Women’s Voice.

Away from the region, Clare has worked alongside national organisations, including the UK Cabinet Office on diversity when it comes to public appointments and honours, with this allowing her to develop formidable reputation for being persistent in the inspiring, demanding and mobilising of action.

Speaking about her appointment, Clare said:

“Today, almost half of the region’s population may experience race inequality in their daily lives. This is 1.3 million people, which means addressing race inequality is not a minority issue.

“I am focused on action that can build on the fantastic foundations the taskforce has laid with its strategy. My call to local people and those in power is to work with us to bring forward tangible activity that makes a difference to people’s lives and truly harnesses all talent. This is about meritocracy not bureaucracy.”

More than 1.3 million people in the West Midlands region identify as being from a background that isn’t White British, making it one of the most ethnically diverse in the UK.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, added:

“Our region is one of the most ethnically diverse in the UK – indeed in the world. We must ensure race is not a barrier to opportunity for our communities – not just because it’s the right thing to do but also because it’s the right thing to do but also because it’s essential if we’re to fully realise our vision for a more prosperous, healthier, and inclusive West Midlands. That’s why I set up the taskforce.

“Yetunde has done a tremendous job of leading the delivery of the first phase of the strategy and I’m committed to working with Sharonjit and the rest of the taskforce to bring about tangible change that positively impacts the lives of local people.

“I look forward to working closely with Sharonjit to drive this agenda forward. I have no doubt she will bring her considerable policy and professional services experience to bear as we focus on this important mission.”

The Publication of Race Forward, the taskforce’s strategy, in March of this year is helping to guide the work of the combined authority and its partners as they look to ensure that people in under-represented communities can benefit more from improve employment, housing and transport. Other aims of the strategy are to tackle the disparities that exist within education, health and criminal justice whilst also seeking to bring about diversity in the leadership of local organisations.


Image credit: iStock

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