South East Essex Women’s Environmental Network (SEEWEN)
South East Essex WEN is part of a national network – the Women’s Environmental Network – which is the only organisation in the UK working consistently for women and the environment. The network’s vision is of a world where women are aware of their ability to change the environment for the better and actively come together to do so.
WEN’s strategic aims are:
1. Empowering women to make positive environmental change.
2. Increasing awareness of women’s perspectives on environmental issues.
3. Influencing decision-making to achieve environmental justice for women.
Central to WEN’s approach is the belief that women have the right to information to enable them to make fair choices. WEN believes that a precautionary approach is healthiest for people and the planet.
WEN’s members are its lifeblood and it has a network of 40 groups and local contacts around the UK, and a few abroad. Local groups provide a space for like-minded women to meet, support each other in going green and campaign on local issues and support national campaigns.
WEN has a record of being the first to raise awareness on many issues, especially those concerning women’s health and reproductive systems. WEN speaks at national and international conferences and is also invited to respond formally to government policy and proposed legislation.
Some WEN successes:
Organising Real Nappy Week, to raise awareness about the environmental impact of disposables and promote real cloth nappies.
Putting the issue of potentially harmful chemicals in cosmetics and toiletries firmly on the public agenda
Persuading manufacturers to reduce chlorine bleaching in nappies and sanitary protection. Exposing measurable levels of the pesticide lindane in chocolate. Major companies revised their purchasing policies. WEN was a founder of the wider successful campaign to ban lindane.
Wrapping is a Rip Off empowered women to protest about excess packaging and persuaded major supermarkets to rethink their packaging strategies.
Campaigning for greater awareness of Toxic Shock Syndrome, a rare but serious illness that can be fatal.
Initiating The Waste Minimisation Act 1998 which gives local authorities power to introduce waste reducing measures and promote waste preventing ideas.
Putting Breast Cancer on the Map, involving women across the country in mapping breast cancer incidence and local sources of environmental pollution which they thought adversely affected the incidence rates in their area.
Developing Taste of a Better Future network, a multicultural network of local food-growing groups.
S E ESSEX WEN (SEEWEN) meets twice a month – the first Saturday for informal coffee & chat at Utopia Café, Southend, and the third Thursday at Fresh Horizons, Ditton Court Road, Westcliff. For more information contact Eileen on 01268 752264 or visit www.seewen.org.uk