Detail from a cartoon U DPY-4-1-13


Background to the Collection

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.

Parity has always been run by volunteers and managed to achieve charitable status in 2005. Previously this had been denied as Parity was deemed a political organisation due to its 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 members' 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. 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.

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.

The Parity website includes details of their history and ongoing campaigns.

What is in the collection?

Material in the Parity collection (ref U DPY) covers the period 1953-2017. Records include minutes, newsletters (Update), subject files, correspondence, membership files, publications and supporting court and government papers.

Files relate to Parity’s various campaigns, including pension equality, winter fuel payments, bus passes, boys’ education and domestic violence against men. Files also relate to work with other pressure groups and charities concerned with human rights and gender equality issues. 

What areas of research would the collection support?

This collection would support research into pressure groups involved with campaigns relating to gender equality and human rights issues. It would support research into gender history and issues from a male perspective, and how attitudes to gender and gender equality have changed in the UK over the course of the late 20th century and into the early 21st century. 

Are there any access issues?

Please note that some files may be closed under data protection legislation. Where this is the case, indication is given in individual descriptions on the online catalogue.

Is there any related material?

Related material can be found in the following collections:

  • Liberty (ref U DCL) formerly the National Council for Civil Liberties
  • Justice (British Section of the International Commission of Jurists) (ref U DJU) 

Please also see our politics and campaigning page for further guidance on our political collections.