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The Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland (WEAll Scotland) is looking for a Communications Assistant to provide various communication functions for our small but dedicated team. This is an exciting opportunity to support the establishment of a newly formed NGO. While this is a voluntary position all reasonable expenses incurred will be reimbursed.

About WEAll Scotland

The Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland (WEAll Scotland) works with a cross-section of Scottish society to support Scotland to be a key player in the global movement for a wellbeing economy. Pioneering initiatives are springing up across Scotland which demonstrate an alternative economy is possible. We aim to connect and amplify these initiatives through events and communications, and by working with partner organisations who share our vision.

About the role

This voluntary role will provide communications support on an ongoing basis to the WEAll Scotland team. This will range from managing social media accounts, to working on engagement strategies, to developing a thriving virtual community. We would hope that the post-holder would bring their own ideas and energy to the team and help develop innovative ways to communicate the idea of and case for a wellbeing economy.

We welcome applications from people from a range of backgrounds who meet the criteria outlined below and the following conditions:

  • Commit to a minimum of 7 hours per week
  • Are resident in Scotland
  • Have access to a personal computer/laptop to work with colleagues via a range of electronic platforms

For full details of the role and how to apply (deadline 30 April) download this PDF.

 

Anna Chrysopoulou is a volunteer with WEAll Scotland – she has written this blog to mark Challenge Poverty Week 2019.

“What does economic growth, measured by GDP[1], tell us about essential issues such as poverty and social inequalities?

Technically nothing. As long as the economy is growing in terms of production and consumption, the country is considered successful. When it comes to the distribution of wealth, are we still successful when poverty and social discontent are rising?

Having a job and yet struggling financially

Although GDP ignores factors such as pay gaps, unpaid work and inequalities, what it does measure is paid work. What if employment does not guarantee the route out of poverty?

Working or in-work poverty, which describes households who live in relative poverty even though someone in the household is in paid work, is a rising issue. The Scottish Government in 2015 issued a report which proved that the majority of working-age adults (52%) in Scotland are in ‘in-work’ poverty, and this figure has been gradually increasing. Indeed, in 2017/2018, working poverty increased to 60% (representing 390,000 working-age adults after housing costs), which means that more people are locked in daily struggle.

Let’ s add now to the conversation social inequalities. Our economy creates powerful currents that could easily pull any of us into poverty.

Women, ethnic minorities and disabled people are more at risk of poverty

Poverty in Scotland has a female face; women are more likely to be living in poverty compared to men. In 2015-2018, the poverty rate for single working-age women was higher than for single adult men, whether they had dependent children or not.  The same relation is found to pensioners, as the relative poverty rate is higher for single female pensioners than male. Apart from the pay gap, one of the reasons for this difference is that women are the majority of low paid workers, due to what is usually considered “women’s work”, such as cleaning, care and retail, being underrated in the labour market.

These figures follow a global trend which shows that it is harder for women to escape poverty. And of course, not to mention unpaid work, such as childcare and housework, which is not even taken into account. According to Oxfam, women do at least twice as much unpaid care work than men, with an estimated global value of $10 trillion, equivalent to one-eighth of the world’s entire GDP.

Social inequalities appear in terms of race and disability, as well. Relative poverty rates are higher where a family member is disabled[2] and are also higher for ethnic minorities. People from minority ethnic (non-white) groups are more likely to be in relative poverty from the ‘White- British’ group. A report in 2017 revealed that poverty in BME[3] communities is twice that of white communities, which is even worse for BME women as they are more affected by austerity. Unemployment levels in many ethnic groups, which is strongly related to poverty and is holding people down, are also higher than most of the Scottish population.

So when we aim to tackle poverty, inequalities ought to  be considered thoroughly and comprehensively.

This evidence demonstrates that we cannot measure everything using economic growth and a monetary system. Living in poverty cannot be described only with numbers. It affects all aspects of one’s life, including those such as mental health that are not measured and therefore, are ignored.

For this reason, it is vital to redesign our current narrow economic system, which keeps failing to show the big picture and focus on people’s wellbeing rather than the economy itself. Scotland could lead the way on that.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, stated in her recent TED talk that “the objective of economic policy should be collective well-being. What we choose to measure as a country matters. It matters because it drives political focus and public activity”.

A wellbeing economy that places people and the planet first is necessary.  This wellbeing economy could be the solution for poverty and social injustice. It is based on the creation of a society that accounts for nature, distribution of resources and better quality of life for everyone. It aims at social, economic and environmental justice and suggests alternative business models, like the employee ownership model that as Sarah Deas, board member of WEAll and former director of CDS, explained: “fosters ‘predistribution’ of wealth with employees,  while companies perform well in terms of productivity, inclusion and innovation”.

And as Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams argued in their book The Economics of Arrival “Growth up to a certain point is important- and countries and people below their respective threshold points need more of it, as long as it is good quality and distributed well. After that point, however, societies need to become better at focusing on the quality of the economy instead of its size. Bricks and mortar are the material foundations of a house, but they are not what constitutes the warmth, welcome and comfort of a home- that stems from relationships, security and personalisation”[4].

Maybe this exactly how we should think of our economy.”

 

References

[1] GDP: Gross Domestic Product which measures the total value of all goods made, and services provided, during a specific period of time.

[2] Since 2012/2013, disabled people are identified as those who report any physical or mental health condition(s) that last or are expected to last 12 months or more, and which limit their ability to carry out day-to-day activities

[3] Black and Minority Ethnic

[4] Trebeck, K. and Williams, J. (2019). The Economics of Arrival. 1st ed. Bristol: Policy Press, p.71.

Wellbeing Economy Alliance (Scotland) – Volunteer recruitment

The Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) is a new global collaboration of organisations, alliances, movements and individuals working together to change the economic system to create a wellbeing economy; one that delivers human and ecological wellbeing.

Scotland is a key player in the global movement for a wellbeing economy. Across Scotland, the purpose of the economy and the dominant model of growth is being reconsidered, with pioneering projects springing up within different sectors. WEAll (Scotland) will connect these initiatives, amplify narratives and create a safe space for government, businesses and society to question the current economic model and champion bold new policies. See https://wellbeingeconomy.org/scotland

We are seeking to recruit two new volunteers, to work with our small team and drive forward our work to support positive change.  Volunteers will be passionate about the need for economic system change, and will have a good understanding of the issues facing our economy, society and natural environment. These are exciting opportunities to support the establishment of a newly formed NGO. While this is a voluntary position all reasonable expenses incurred will be reimbursed.

  1. Events coordinator: The Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland is looking for an Events Co-ordinator to support us with the successful delivery of a range of events, from large one day conferences to smaller seminars. Download more information on the role and how to apply here.
  2. Executive assistant : The Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland is looking for an executive assistant to provide a range of administrative support functions for  our small but dedicated team.  Download more information on the role and how to apply here.

The closing date for applying for both roles is 6pm on Sunday 18 August. We anticipate holding interviews in Edinburgh on 28 August and in Glasgow on 29 August.