Oral History collection: Val Feld (née Turner) (born 29 Oct. 1947, Bangor, Caernarfonshire, Labour politician; head of the Equal Opportunities Commission for Wales (later Welsh Assembly Member for Swansea East)) interviewed by M. Anne Stephenson about her life, career and time at the Equal Opportunities Commission, for the interviewer's Masters dissertation. Includes written transcript and accompanying letter from M. Anne Stephenson.

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 216 WAW/8/1
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      13 papers and 1 audio recording on cassette; also digital copy in MP3 format

Scope and Content

[00:00:01] Personal Details: No info on name, location, dob; but from contents apparent it's Val Feld, b 29/10/47, d 17/7/01: Head of Equal Opportunities Commission in Wales 1989-1999, then AM Swansea East 1999-2001. [00:00:50] Politics: Mid-1970s political awareness re male/female inequalities. [00:01:05] Politics: Childhood: treated as "son", so no limit on ambitions. [00:01:32] Politics: Anger at injustice & overbearing power. [00:02:09] Education: Student at Oxford Technical College [presumably Poly, now Oxford Brookes University]. [00:02:54] Politics: Involvement at Oxford, sex'n'drugs'n'rock'n'roll zeitgeist. [00:03:11] Politics: Grassroots & community politics, by late teens. [00:03:31] Politics: Married man from Labour family, aged 21. [00:03:45] Politics: Move to Lancashire, campaigns and children. [00:04:36] Politics: Marriage breakup, thrown out, no support, no income. [00:05:26] Politics: Awareness: sexual politics. [00:05:58] Politics: Job in Advice Centre, through nepotism. [00:06:32] Shelter: 1981: set up 1st Welsh office, Director of Shelter in Wales. [00:07:05] Shelter: Practical workplace feminism. [00:08:15] Politics: Involvement in Women's Liberation Movement - conferences in 1970s. [00:09:27] Politics: Consciousness Raising Groups. [00:09:55] Politics: Swansea Women's Centre. [00:10:15] Politics: Women's Peace Movement - Greenham Common. [00:11:23] Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC): 1989, Head of EOC, set up 1975, offices in Wales, Scotland, Manchester, succeeded John Low as Welsh Head. [00:13:58] EOC: Complaints v EOC in Wales, interviewee changed it to advice/casework emphasis. [00:14:30] EOC: Resource/structure battles. [00:15:27] EOC: Progress made by EOC. [00:16:35] EOC: EOC had status: trade for resources. [00:17:03] EOC: Joanna Foster, Chair of EOC, 1989 prioritised "mainstreaming", as opposed to enforcement. [00:18:13] EOC: No caseworkers initially. [00:18:49] Economy: Skill shortage fears. [00:19:12] Childcare Policy: South Glamorgan CC "Women Returners Unit", unwitting template for mainstreaming. [00:20:31] Economy: WDA fears of skill shortages, low level of economic activity, EOC involvement. [00:21:25] Economy: How Feld "structured the research" for report, which "predictably" met her agenda. [00:22:11] WDA: Action Plan, led to Chwarae Teg. [00:22:55] EOC: EOC thought Feld "absolutely mad". [00:23:12] EOC: Few resources, so WDA better as host. [00:23:43] EOC: David Hunt claims credit for Chwarae Teg. [00:25:08] Feminist Education: Feminist workshops, courses (South Glamorgan CC). [00:25:57] Feminist Education: Valleys Women's Roadshow, countering low expectations. [00:26:49] Personal Philosophy: Prefers "pieces of work" finite projects, prioritising, one thing at a time. [00:27:15] Personal Philosophy: Infrastructure building. [00:27:37] EOC: Programmes: pay, harassment, structures, with businesses, unions, etc. [00:29:32] Welsh Language: EOC Programs on Welsh adverts. [00:29:52] Ethnic Minorities: EOC programmes, inclusion. [00:30:55] Personal Philosophy: Always "mainstreaming". [00:31:36] EOC: Guidance, structures, defines "mainstreaming", & "good". [00:33:52] EEC: Wider audience for equality. [00:34:16] Personal Philosophy: Measuring "success" difficult. [00:36:18] EOC: Assessments of status and progress in Wales. [00:37:36] Feminism: White middle class in 1970s-1980s, now moved on. [00:38:43] Black Feminism: "Equality Net" failures addressed, funding problems, better since 1997. [00:40:58] EOC: Access difficulties to EOC, for working classes. [00:41:58] Feminist Education: Reaching out to disadvantaged, first steps to equality; benefits trap. [00:42:30] EOC: EOC structure, changes, funding (£6m, CRE twice that). [00:45:13] EOC: Resource poverty, search for money, sponsors. [00:46:32] Welsh Office: WAG hampers relations, no mainstream funding. [00:00:01] Personal Details: Continuation of WAW 8-1a: Val Feld, b 29/10/47, d 17/7/01: Head of Equal Opportunities Commission in Wales 1989-1999, then AM Swansea East 1999-2001. [00:00:14] Consortium: Alliance building, EOC crucial. [00:02:02] Women's National Commission: Formation, aims, common ground. [00:04:27] Feminism: Difficulties of translating decisions into effective grassroots action. [00:05:57] Personal Philosophy: Mainstreaming, European Woman's Lobby. [00:07:44] Wages: Impact in Wales of Minimum Wage - black economy