Presenting Women Friendly Leeds to the Women’s Hub

 In Women Friendly Leeds

Presenting Women Friendly Leeds to the Women’s Hub

By Emily Turner, VOICES Co-ordinator, Women’s Lives Leeds

I was so excited to meet the women who were attending the Leeds Women’s Hub, and hear their thoughts on the Women Friendly Leeds movement; after all, it was members of the women’s hub who had come up with the idea of becoming a Women Friendly City in the first place. Women are often more present than men, at events and meetings concerning speaking up about the changes they want to make regarding societies, cities, communities and services. Their passion and enthusiasm should be viewed positively, and their views taken into account in a meaningful way. I was very keen not only to ask for voices and opinions, but also to make sure they were heard, recorded, shared and fed back on, with the ultimate aim of them becoming vehicles to make positive changes in Leeds.

There were over 30 women at the hub, and they were a diverse range of women with lots of ideas and feedback. After delivering a presentation to the group on the what, why, when, where of the Women Friendly Leeds movement, which can be found here, we took part in an activity to explore ways in which the attendees could become involved in the initiative or share their thoughts on it.

The participants made fantastic contributions, not only about Women Friendly Leeds, but also about the Hub, and its agenda, and how it is run and structured. The women challenged, and asked questions to help us think about how to increase and maintain membership, and keep women engaged in the process. The women that raised these points were very passionate, and I found the feedback useful. I don’t shy away from what people have to say, we want to hear their voices and their truth.

We received twenty-two cards back, little mini pledges of how hub members want to get involved in Women Friendly Leeds, from a range of perspectives. So many great ideas were shared, and I felt really inspired by the women who wanted to take part in the movement and do something to contribute. After all, a movement is about getting as many people involved as possible, together we are stronger.

Here I will share as many of the ideas and themes as I can. We have omitted contact details to keep them anonymous. I plan to support change by getting in contact with women that have left their details, to see what support I can offer or who we can link in with.

SHARING & AWARENESS RAISING:
• Share WFL in women-led business movements.
• Increasing awareness of excessive expectations on women.
• Could we have a social media forum to keep in touch
• Empower women to share personal experiences, to inspire others

SUPPORT & INVOLVE:
• Supporting women to combine working with motherhood.
• Supporting women to become financially educated and resilient.
• Running a workshop on consent.
• Being vocal in support of women and a conduit in and out of the council.
• Safe spaces for women to do art and socialise
• Volunteer on arts and crafts activities for WFL
• Increase the number of female only physical activity sessions
• Promote the Hub, and feedback any comments

INCLUSIVE:
• Make library collections more representative of women
• Ensure LGBT services are women friendly and not dominated by gay men.
• Consider women in sustainable, active and healthy travel

POLICY & CHANGE:
• Reducing the wage gap between men and women.
• Encouraging businesses to pledge to change.
• Draw on examples of WFL in research and teaching regarding women in planning
• Fight men’s violence against women

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