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PACT's writing group share what they have learnt from working in a female-led project

In honour of International Women's Day, Semble asked PACT's writing group and Family Food Club leaders to share some of the lessons they have learnt from working in a female-led organisation. 

You can read the writing groups full responses in this blog or check out Semble's article here, written by the wonderful Ellie Demetri who has regularly volunteered at our Family Food Club.

Carina:

"I have learnt the importance of sharing who I am, who I want to be and what my experiences are because it is a way to reach out and make real connections."

How do you think women are driving change in the community sector?

I feel women have always been strong individuals that were very much overlooked and not taken very seriously in society. However, bringing women together that have common ground, such as being parents, has enabled us to feel part of something. I have seen how collectively we can make a difference and how being together spurs us on to be better and do better things. When we started it was for our children, the next generation, but it has become about building real relationships with others so our voices can be heard.

At PACT, we have been able to work with Citizens UK to learn about community organising and how to be a leader within our communities so that we can bring about change. Women within my community have found their voices and have built campaigns to tackle the issues affecting themselves and their families. We have gotten involved in politics through seeking more information about voting rights, by wanting to know who and what we are voting for and participating in debates. I will even be attending Citizens UK’s Mayoral Assembly on the 21st April, where we will ask Sadiq Khan and his fellow Mayoral candidates to commit to working with us to tackle the climate crisis, knife crime and make London a welcoming borough to refugees and migrants.

It is important to have the knowledge to make change and it starts with education, in the last year I have had the opportunity to be part of training with PACT through Citizens UK. It has strengthened my self-belief, my confidence and shown if I put in the work and do not act alone, I can make a difference. Instead of thinking there is no point in speaking out because we will not be heard, we have taken part in so many amazing opportunities and have worked together to make a difference. Now we look for others that feel the same, look for opportunities to say what we feel or think and look for chances to building campaigns and take real action. 

 

What lessons have you learnt from working in a female-led / female-centred project?

Being part of PACT, where the volunteers and leaders are female, I have learnt that it is okay not to be perfect and it is important to be honest with ourselves but also it is okay to do the same to others. I have learnt the importance of sharing who I am, who I want to be and what my experiences are because it is a way to reach out and make real connections. It has empowered me to better myself as a parent but as an individual. I have learnt to not feel guilty for thinking about myself. Even though I am a parent, I am a human being, an individual as well. 

 

What lessons/advice would you like to share with other women in the community sector?

There is no perfect parent and this is okay. It is important to be confident in who you are so you can pass that onto your children, but it is okay to admit when you are struggling. Nothing worthwhile is easy so even if you say yes I want to make a difference, you will have setbacks and bad days, you will have people joining your cause then drop out and you will have days where you think is it worth it? The important thing to remember is to keep pushing and to talk to as many people as possible because you never know who may be listening.

It is important to get involved even if it was just for your kids' sake or because you were needing to leave the house because once you do get involved you start to immerse yourself and its very liberating.

Danna:

"The best lessons I would like to share with other women in the community sector is the importance of working together and that bringing up our stories helps us to build strong bonds and an authentic alliance."

 

Helen:

"Women are becoming a driving force in the community sector by using their own experience and struggles to help others. It is easier to reach and help someone when you can somehow relate to their pain and struggles."

How do you think women are driving change in the community sector? 

Women are becoming a driving force in the community sector by using their own experience and struggles to help others. It is easier to reach and help someone when you can somehow relate to their pain and struggles.

Personally I have been able to attend my local Parents and Communities Together (PACT) community sector where I have been able to take various courses. Before I joined PACT I was more focused on the needs of my family and had neglected self-growth. It has now been nearly a year since I joined the community and in the last few months, I have been able to help organise events, join various groups and help run a weekly Family Food Club. A club that helps the community make healthier choices when it comes to mealtimes.

As women, we have so much to offer to society given the right tools.

 

What lessons/advice would you like to share with other women in the community sector? 

Women in the community sector should focus more on the causes that they feel passionate about. As that would allow them to go that extra mile that is very much needed when working in the community sector.

The other advice I would give would be to find the strength to encourage one another. With so many disadvantages faced by women, it is very important to empower one another.


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  • Wilhelmina Perry
    published this page in News 2020-03-04 15:51:34 +0000