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Event report: International Women’s Day 2021 – women’s experiences using Self-directed Support

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 30th March 2021

How can we improve social care for women in Scotland?

On 8 March 2021 (International Women’s Day), the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) and Self Directed Support Scotland (SDSS) jointly hosted a digital event to explore women’s experiences of Self-directed Support (SDS) and to discuss the next steps for social care.

Chaired by Lucy Mulvagh, Director of Policy and Communications at the ALLIANCE, we heard first from Hannah Tweed, the ALLIANCE’s Senior Policy Officer, on key findings from My Support My Choice: Women’s Experiences of Self-directed Support and Social Care (MSMC). This was followed by Anne-Marie Monaghan of the Community Brokerage Network, speaking from her own experience using SDS and supporting others to do the same in a presentation titled “Warrior Women”.

This report contains feedback from the speakers and participant discussion, which was centred around the following key questions:

  • How can we improve social care for women in Scotland?
  • What should be done to improve women’s access to information about SDS?
  • What needs to change for women to have more choice and control over their budgets?
  • What role do supported decision making and participation play in current social care practices?
  • What data should be collected around women’s experiences of social care? Who should collect it? How and where should it be shared?

The report highlights a range of equalities issues for women accessing Self-directed Support and social care. Participants reflected on the need to avoid stereotypical gendered assumptions – for example, to challenge the expectation that all women wish to be carers and nurture others. Others commented on the need for social workers to empower and enable people to take risks, and to assess their own priorities when undertaking needs assessments.

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