Today is International Women’s Day and this year the theme is #BalanceforBetter. The campaign asks us all to think about how we help forge a more gender-balanced world, celebrate women’s achievement and raise awareness against bias. We meet hundreds of inspiring women every year, from Birmingham to Bangladesh and in the past we have written about some of them on International Women’s Day.
But this year we’re looking a little closer to home. I wanted to shine a spotlight on four awesome women who are using their skills and entrepreneurial flair to forge initiatives that are (or will) undoubtedly create #BalanceforBetter.
Jude Habib, Being the Story Network
Jude and team at sounddelivery want the voices and stories we hear in the media to reflect a wider cross section of society. They want the public to hear and see people who have first-hand experience of the big issues facing society today. Have you ever seen the online buzz after one of Jude’s Being the Story events? If these storytellers can have that effect on a room of charity folk who are more used to these stories, imagine how they could change public opinion about some of our toughest social issues. They are currently crowdfunding to build a network of media confident spokespeople with real experience of social issues facing society by providing the training, support and connections that they need to get their voices and ideas heard. Check out their film below and take a look at the crowdfunder site.
Lucy Caldicott, Change Out
Did you know that men outnumber women on charity boards by two to one and that 92% of trustees are white, older and above average income and education? How much more powerful could the impact of organisations be if there were more individuals with lived experience at a decision-making level? Later this month Lucy will be leaving her CEO role at the fabulous UpRising to set up ChangeOut, a new breed of consultancy for the charity sector which aims to change this story. They’ll be working to address these power imbalances by offering advice on different organisational structures, different ways of recruiting and developing staff, and different ways of delivering programmes, campaigning and fundraising. Their site says they won’t be afraid to have the difficult conversations. We can’t wait to see where the conversations lead!
Lucy Gower, Lucidity Network
The Lucidity Network is a professional development network that combines a mix of face-to-face meet-ups, online toolkits, webinars and access to a community that is a glorious mix of cheerleaders, mentors and coaches. For me, the value is having other small business owners to chat through the highs and lows of running a business and for those of us who work at home the online community provides a great source of advice, morale boosting chat and accountability. But it’s not just the self-employed who belong here – there’s a whole range of members and experiences, which is what provides so much value. Topics that have been covered in the monthly toolkits include dealing with imposter syndrome, resilience and making time to think. Later this year I will be working with Lucy on the storytelling toolkit and webinar. Follow the Facebook group to hear about the next member registration window and read my tale of a bent fork and a lesson in collaborative problem solving on their blog.
Mandy Johnson, Great Charity Speakers
Mandy is the woman on this list who I know least well, having met her once or twice at networking events quite some time ago and sharing the occasional chat on Twitter but I have so much admiration for the work she does and the leadership she shows in the sector. Last year she spoke out with real courage about her own mental health challenges and I don’t doubt that she has opened the door to for more people in our sector to speak out and seek help when they need to. Last year, frustrated by the number of times she was asked to speak at events that didn’t have any other women or non-white speakers, she launched the Great Charity Speakers website. The site, which now has lists for the UK, US and Canada, is a resource for conference organisers looking for a diverse range of views, experiences, cultures, perspectives and ways of working.