Parity (U DPY)
Background to Parity
Parity is an equal
rights charity first formed in 1986 as the Campaign for Equal State
Pension Ages (CESPA). CESPA’s original focus was to obtain equal
state pension rights for men at the age of 60. This was extended to
include prescription charges, winter fuel payments, bus travel
concessions and widower’s benefits. The name change to Parity took
place in 1997 as a better reflection of their work which now
encompasses all aspects of state inequality for men and women.
has always been run by volunteers and managed to achieve charitable
status in 2005. Previously this had been denied them as they were
seen as a political organisation due to their work in changing the
law. Parity has attracted cross party support with several members
of the Houses of Commons and Lords serving on its Board. Its main
objectives are the promotion and protection of the equal rights of
men and women to the enjoyment of all civil, political, economic,
social and cultural rights under the law.
Parity’s campaigns arise from member’s interests in media
stories and personal experiences. By using a member as a figurehead
in court cases and working with other organisations it has been
possible for Parity to bring about changes that have impacted on
the lives of thousands of people. In 1995 Parity, through its
member Cyril Richardson, achieved its first major success with the
European Court ruling that it was unlawful to charge men aged 60–65
for prescriptions when they were free to women (see U DPY/4/4).
They have gone on to have many more successes which are documented
in this collection.
Parity continues to campaign, now encompassing wider social
issues including those of domestic violence, boys’ education and
equal state funding for male and female specific diseases. They
have worked to ensure the accurate reporting of the numbers of male
domestic violence sufferers, notably by the Crown Prosecution
Service in 2008. A conference organised by Parity in partnership
with the Royal Society of Medicine in 2007 focussed on the
under-achievement of boys in education, drawing together experts in
this field (see U DPY/5/2).
Parity has worked with a number of organisations in the areas of
civil liberties and where their campaigns are targeted. These
include the Equal Opportunities Commission, Liberty, JUSTICE, Age
Concern, National Pensioners Convention and various unions.
What can the
collection be used for?
This collection provides the
opportunity to examine how a pressure group is able to organise
itself behind a cause and then adapt to take on new challenges as
they achieve success. It also provides an insight into gender
history from a male perspective and shows the background to a
number of social changes that have taken place that Parity has had
a guiding hand in.
What records will I find in the
The collection represents the campaigns
and projects that Parity have been involved in and consists of
minutes of meetings, newsletters (Update), subject files,
correspondence, membership files, publications and supporting court
and government papers.
How do I access the
The collection is available for anyone to
use and has been given the unique reference number U DPY. The
material has been arranged into the following five sections:
- U DPY/1 Minutes and supporting papers of CESPA and Parity,
- U DPY/2 Correspondence, 1975-2011
- U DPY/3 Publicity, 1986-2011
- U DPY/4 Campaigns, 1981-2011
- U DPY/5 Conference, 1989-2008
Due to the personal and sensitive nature of some of the material
certain closures have been placed on parts of this collection.
Please see the paper version of this catalogue which is available
in the searchroom at Hull History Centre or via our online
Access to unrestricted material will be
granted to any accredited reader. However, access to some of the
material in this collection is restricted, either under the terms
of the Data Protection Act, or because of legal confidentiality.
For any enquiries relating to conditions in which access would be
allowed, please contact Archivist, Simon Wilson, at email@example.com for
Is there other relevant
Further archival material relating to
Parity may be held in the collections of the organisations that
they worked with on various campaigns. Amongst the collections at
the History Centre it is likely that related information will
feature amongst the records of Liberty (formerly the National Council for Civil
Liberties) [Ref U DCL] and Justice/All Souls Review [Ref U
The Parity website includes
details of their history and ongoing campaigns.