Rivers LPC charity celebrates extraordinary lives of local women for International Women's Day
Sometimes it is the ordinary women who are doing the most extraordinary things.
For International Women's Day the Rivers Learning Project Community Charity based in Crawley, West Sussex, in the UK, showcased local women to raise awareness about how their contributions can, like streams or rivers, flow into a bigger and better impact for the local community.
To do this, Rivers Learning Project Community (LPC) connected local women with already established local public services, support services, charities and commercial and voluntary organisations to highlight how collaboration is essential for achieving gender equality.
Highlighting the lived experiences of women in the community
RiversLPC understands that the personal contributions women make to the community can be overshadowed by the descriptive roles they are reduced to by wider society such as housewife, single mother, divorcee and so on.
Rivers LPC's IWD #BalanceforBetter campaign therefore was run alongside #HerStory to showcase the lived experiences of around thirty women and the impact of their work within the local community. Rivers decided to focus on ordinary women to emphasise that, regardless of background or upbringing, every woman deserves a voice in promoting gender equality in their personal and professional networks.
Celebrating those going the extra mile to support vulnerable women
Rivers LPC honoured women who have gone above and beyond their personal goals or paid professions to support vulnerable women in the community. For IWD, Rivers LPC hosted a free event at a local community centre which promoted the work of Rivers LPC and other local charities including a display of women’s profiles that were also shared across social media channels.
Inviting female guest speakers to facilitate IWD-themed workshops
As well as organising a cake display table created by a local female baker, volunteers and a local mentee, Rivers LPC invited four women from different backgrounds to the event: a charity CEO, a former MP, a female entrepreneur and football coach, and a local councillor and previous Mayor of the Town. Each guest facilitated a rotating series of workshop with small groups of attendees that sparked conversations around the campaign.
The workshops provided an opportunity for attendees to take part in practical activities, such as a football taster session, and to also hear about the personal and professional lives of the women guests. For example, the former Mayor spoke about overcoming challenges of a debilitating illness, while the former MP discussed women in politics and her other professional background in nursing.
Thanks to Rivers LPC's IWD event, women from the local community experienced an important opportunity to be seen, heard and celebrated - something that should be at the core of any gender equality campaign.