UNISON Cymru Wales Winner, Equalities: Helen Burton

Alastair Gittins
2 min readOct 30, 2019

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Meet the people recognised at UNISON’s recent Cymru Wales Awards 2019 night

Winner, Equalities: Helen Burton, Cwm Taf Local Government Area

Helen (right) receiving her award from UNISON Cymru Wales regional secretary Tanya Palmer

Many of us would like to think we challenge inequality but how many make it a personal mission to tackle society’s taboos in the name of advancing women’s rights? Helen’s enthusiasm and vigour are a credit to the cause of equality.

It needs guts to take the anti-domestic message of the White Ribbon campaign into male-dominated depots at 6.30am in the morning but that’s what Helen did, winning over the men through discussions about the impact violence has on families.

She’s led branch campaigning on period poverty and supporting WASPI. Her campaigning on the menopause has paid huge dividends for local women.

Helen spoke to female members going through the menopause about how they might be better supported and ordered 400 UNISON-branded desk fans. In December 2018, she brought Cwm Taf public service employers together for a ground-breaking conference to help them understand their responsibility towards staff and the impact the menopause has on the individual and the workplace.

Helen pictured with fellow members of the Cwm Taf Local Government Area branch and Tanya Palmer, regional secretary

As a result, menopause guidance and risk assessment were implemented in Rhondda Cynon Taf Council on International Women’s Day 2019.

She has been elected as secretary of the Cymru Wales Women’s Committee and now winner of the Equalities Award.

Photo credit: Natasha Hirst

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Alastair Gittins

UNISON Cymru Wales policy officer