Rochdale Voices of Women.

Young women are increasingly speaking out about the rape culture that is all too prevalent in schools, colleges and universities.

The murder of Sarah Everard in London in March 2021 has been a catalyst for a growing uprising across the UK about the lack of safety for women and girls.

2021’s WHO report says that one in three women, (around 736 million), have experienced sexual or physical abuse.

Together with M6 Theatre and KYP, CAN will co-create three informal creative spaces for up to 30 women and girls who we met during Rochdale Voices of Women outreach sessions in 2019 – 2020.

The women and girls come from three groups:  a self-organised older South Asian women’s group, a group of more recently arrived migrant women from KYP’s ESOL group, and an intercultural group of teenage girls from M6 Theatre.

During the Voices of Women project, through a series of co-creation workshops with CAN artist/ facilitator Mahboobeh Rajabi, women and girls identified the issues that matter to them such as safety, childcare, body image, and their absence from the leadership roles in their communities.

The subsequent COVID pandemic has created new challenges: women having a larger responsibility for childcare and home education, larger unemployment levels because of the impact of lockdowns on hospitality and retail businesses, taking care of ill family members, and exposure to the virus through health care jobs.

“It’s important for women to be united, celebrate themselves, and be proud.”

“Women’s position is not always in the kitchen…”

“At school, we talk about our period in a way that is like something bad and it makes us feel ashamed.”

“It’s so important to give leadership to women.”

The women want spaces for solidarity that champions the social changes they want to be part of.  Three spaces will host the three groups who’ve developed deep bonds of trust and friendship.

“It makes me feel so happy coming here, they are like my sisters. I feel safe when I come to the group.”

The groups are co-designing unique creative places building on their interests, ideas, and ambitions.

Each space is hosted by trusted women practitioners/community members – from M6 Theatre and KYP – alongside CAN artist Mahoobeh Rajabi who will bring her skill in theatre-making, writing, and digital art.

The women and girls will share their creative projects between groups to build intercultural and intergenerational conversations.

Funded by Lankelly Chase through Greater Manchester Systems Changers


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