Equality, inclusion, diversity and anti-racism (EIDAR) Policy

We’re often challenged on why we don’t include men in our work and though this policy explains the organisational approach to equality, inclusion, diversity and anti-racism (or ‘EIDAR’ as we call it for short) we know that ‘policy speak’ doesn’t speak to everyone. So let us try to explain.

We’re a women’s organisation: A movement organised by, with and for women. Our vision is ‘a world in which women’s voices have power’, and we hold that vision because our lived experience as women tells us that our voices are all too often ignored or silenced.

Our movement was founded in the UK where women face gender-based violence, health inequalities, employment discrimination, higher rates of poverty and inequitable caring responsibilities[1].

Our work focuses primarily on mothers as there is evidence of additional discrimination faced by women who are mothers which is known as ‘the motherhood penalty’[2]

We exist because suicide is the leading cause of death for women who are pregnant and in the year after childbirth[3] and that has to change. And the evidence has shown us that it can through singing.[4]

We’ve consulted with the women who attend our groups, and the majority told us that opening our groups up to include men would negatively affect their experience. This is why we run our groups for women only.


We do recognise that men also struggle as new parents and may also benefit from our work, but our priority is meeting the needs of women. Our resources are limited and as a movement of women who are self-organising to overcome the inequality we experience we simply don’t have capacity to set up additional services outside of our core mission. That said, we are open to sharing knowledge and learning with men who would like to self-organise as we have done.

Another question we’re asked regularly is what we mean when we use the word ‘woman’. When we talk about ‘women’ we are referring to people who identify as female. This includes cis-women and trans-women. We also welcome non-binary people who have lived experience as female, providing they are comfortable in a space which centres on the experiences of being a woman.

We recognise the risk that predatory men may choose to deliberately exploit the self-definition of gender in order to gain access to a women’s space. We safeguard against this by working closely with our network of group leaders. It’s worth noting that as an organisation we have never experienced a predatory man trying to access our groups, though we have welcomed trans-women and non-binary people successfully into our groups.

Although the majority of our programmes are available to all women, in this policy we also make provision for women to self-organise into targeted groups with others who share a particular lived experience or protected characteristic. We might also partner with other organisations (like refugee support services, maternity services, adoption services or women’s refuges) who support a targeted group of women and restrict access to their own services accordingly.

We make this provision because we understand that open access women’s services may inadvertently exclude women who don’t feel able to access an intersectional space (especially when they’re at their most vulnerable).

Ultimately, our approach to EIDAR is to listen to the women we serve and continue to adapt and change accordingly. We know that we won’t always get it right and we welcome feedback and reflections.

If you’d like to share your thoughts, please get in touch via [email protected] 



The Board of Directors

Singing Mamas


December 2022

















  1. Definitions

1.1 - When we talk about equality, inclusion and diversity we mean treating people fairly, respecting and valuing all forms of difference and actively seeking to identify and remove attitudes / practices which may lead people to be excluded.

1.2 - We also reference anti-racism, because we recognise that structural inequalities for people who are of the global majority (Black, Asian, Brown, dual-heritage, indigenous to the global south) have developed out of cultures and contexts of racism which need to be acknowledged in order that they can be dismantled.

1.3 – Singing Mamas is a movement organised by, with and for women and the majority of our services are exclusively for women

1.3.1 – When we use the term ‘woman / women’ we are referring to people who identify as female which includes cis-women and trans-women.

1.3.2 - We also welcome non-binary people who have lived experience as female, providing they are comfortable in a space which centres on the experiences of being a woman.


  1. Legislation Frameworks

2.1 - There is a legal requirement under the Equalities Act 2010 for us to make sure we are not discriminating against people with protected characteristics.

2.2 – ‘Protected Characteristics’ are listed as age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy & maternity, race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin), religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

2.3 – The UK government classifies sex as being biologically defined and gender as a social construct and internal sense of self[5]

2.4 – Under the Equalities Act 2010 sex is defined as a binary (either male or female) and is determined by what is recorded on a person’s birth certificate.

2.4.1 – Under the Equalities Act 2010 a person can legally change their sex by obtaining a ‘Gender Recognition Certificate’

2.5 – As a charitable organisation we are permitted under the Equalities Act to ‘restrict benefit’ (including services) to those identified within the governing document

2.5.1 – Our governing document identifies our beneficiaries as ‘women’

2.6 – In some circumstances the organisation may provide targeted services to women who hold additional protected characteristics where they feel unable to access intersectional services.

2.6.1 – The Equalities Act makes provision for charitable organisations to restrict services on this basis ‘if it is done to prevent or compensate for disadvantage linked to the protected characteristic’[6]

2.6.2– There is provision within the Equalities Act to provide ‘single sex services’ providing this constitutes ‘a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim’[7]

2.7 – When offering targeted / restricted services we will require staff / workers to be representative of the community the service is aimed at.


  1. Purpose

3.1 - The purpose of our EIDAR policy is to:

3.1.1 - Ensure our services are inclusive of all women

3.1.2 - Provide equality, fairness and respect for all workers & stakeholders

3.1.3 – Ensure we do not unlawfully discriminate against any person. (This includes in pay and benefits, terms and conditions of employment, dealing with grievances and discipline, dismissal, redundancy, leave for parents, requests for flexible working, and selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities).


  1. Procedures

4.1 - In order to deliver on this policy Singing Mamas will:

4.1.1 - Train workers and stakeholders about their rights and responsibilities under this policy

4.1.2 - Take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by workers, stakeholders, beneficiaries, suppliers, the public and any others in the course of the organisation’s work activities.

4.1.3 – Make decisions concerning the appointment and progression of staff & workers based on merit (apart from in any necessary and limited exemptions and exceptions allowed under the Equality Act).

4.1.4 - Monitor the make-up of the workforce and network in relation to protected characteristics.

4.1.5 – Co-create an EIDAR commitment and action plan with our stakeholders


4.2 – In order to ensure on-going compliance with the relevant legislation we will require the set-up of any targeted / restricted groups or provision to be assessed and approved by no less than 3 members of the Board of Directors.

4.3 – Any person seeking to access Singing Mamas provision should pre-book by contacting the leader who will communicate this policy to them.

4.3.1 – In the event that a person should arrive at provision without a booking, they may be refused entry.

4.4 - Any concerns relating to accesses to our groups should be reported immediately to the Safeguarding Lead Kate Valentine who is also a member of the Board of Directors.

              4.4.1 – Kate Valentine can be contacted on [email protected]


4.5 – The Board of Directors to assess this policy annually


  1. Our wider EIDAR commitment & action plan

As well as meeting our responsibilities under the relevant legislation, equality, inclusion, diversity and anti-racism (EIDAR) is a core foundation of the organisations’ business planning and development. We have co-produced an EIDAR commitment and action plan with our stakeholders which is detailed below:

We exist to empower women to improve their wellbeing through song-sharing communities. Inclusivity is one of our core values as an organisation and so our ambition is to engage all women in our mission.   We know that women experience disadvantage because of their race, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, religious belief, maternity status and / or cultural background. We also know that despite our best efforts there will be times when our organisation may inadvertently contribute to this inequality.


Our commitments

We have established 5 key principles and commitments as an organisation in order to continuously improve our practice around equality, inclusion, diversity and anti-racism.


  1. We actively seek to represent and serve diverse communities
  2. We monitor the diversity of our leaders and group members so we can see where we are falling short
  3. We co-produce our EIDAR strategy with women who have lived experience of inequality, exclusion and racism
  4. We require all of our leaders to engage in EIDAR training, learning and ongoing self-evaluation
  5. We cultivate a nuanced understanding of the cultural origins of the songs we sing and address difficult legacies when we encounter them



How we deliver on our commitments


1. “We actively seek to represent and serve diverse communities”

1.1 – We seek grant funding to engage under-represented women as leaders within our network


1.2 – Our marketing material represents diverse women


1.3 – We actively target specific partner organisations and networks that engage diverse women


1.4 – We support our leaders and partners to create targeted groups, where necessary, to meet the needs of women with protected characteristics


2. “We monitor the diversity of our leaders, group members and programmes so we can see where we are falling short”

2.1 – All group members, group leaders and Directors are asked to complete equalities monitoring


2.2 – We produce an annual EIDAR report tracking our diversity against relevant statistics



3. “We co-produce our EIDAR strategy with women who have lived experience of inequality, exclusion and racism”


3.1 – We appoint an EIDAR strategy group of diverse women (this should be a paid role when funding permits)


3.2 – The Directors review annual report and follow recommendations of this strategy group


4. “We require all of our leaders to engage in EIDAR training, learning and ongoing self-evaluation”

4.1 – EIDAR is a key component of leadership training


4.2 – EIDAR content is offered as CPD to the leader network


4.3 – All group leaders are asked to complete an annual ‘EIDAR audit’ evaluating their practice.


5. “We cultivate a nuanced understanding of the cultural origins of the songs we sing and address difficult legacies when we encounter them”

5.1 – We operate a clear 5 step protocol for selecting and introducing songs


5.2 – We reflect openly and publicly (via our online platforms) on issues of cultural origins in our material





[1] See https://www.unwomen.org/en/hq-complex-page/covid-19-rebuilding-for-resilience?gclid=CjwKCAiAyfybBhBKEiwAgtB7fuekF9XUKVCSSGnbv54FgdK1_8F3-yoyxmoUNHP-FGPYgHtBIq2ShBoCgMAQAvD_BwE

[2] See; Brearley, J (2021) Pregnant then Screwed. The Truth About the Motherhood Penalty. London. Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.

[3] See; Maternal Mental Health Alliance

[4] See; Fancourt, D and Perkins, R (Jan 2018) Effect of singing interventions on symptoms of postnatal depression: three-arm randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry. Cambridge University Press


[5] See Office of National Statistics

[6] See https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/exceptions-charities-and-religion-or-belief-organisations

[7] See https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/separate-and-single-sex-service-providers-guide-equality-act-sex-and-gender