Last month we worked with the Women’s Voice Movement and Inspiring Change Manchester to look at the different types of strengths that women have as part of a Conversation of Change event.
Over the last year, we’ve been working with women to gather stories about their experiences of the pandemic, some of which you can listen to in this short film. From these stories, we could hear how women were talking in different ways about how they have got through lockdowns, how they have supported others, how they have supported themselves and other related topics. This led us to think about how can we highlight the different strengths and capacities that women have and how can we ask services to think differently about how they work with women?
With this in mind, we invited women from across Manchester and people working in services that support women to an online discussion about the strength of women. From this discussion, we identified that the women in the stories we listened to:
- have lots of ability and skills but find it hard sometimes to identify them or speak about them publicly
- are good at adapting and finding ways to get through tough times
- really resilient and can change direction when needed
- value having spaces to stop, think and reflect
- are great at supporting one another
- value connections – including with individuals, services and their faith – when facing difficult times
From this, we began to explore what services and we could start to do different to work with women’s strengths in more meaningful ways. Ideas such as reframing questions that services ask women about their lives from ones that always focus on negatives, to ones that identify strengths and creating flexible spaces were women can talk, share experiences and reflect with others about how to address challenges they are facing were discussed.
The group of women behind the workshop are now in the process of making plans to continue this conversation and take some of these ideas forward into action.