This international women’s day we want to celebrate just a few of the many incredible women we’ve had the honour of working with. Through our Being the Story events we’ve been privileged to meet women who are creating real social change in their sectors and communities, harnessing their lived experience to speak out and campaign for others. We’re crowdfunding to create a programme of training, mentoring, support and connections to help people do this with impact.
Let us introduce to a few women who are leading the way:
Mandy Thomas, Women’s Aid Ambassador
Mandy Thomas has spearheaded a number of campaigns to influence the law around domestic abuse. She has shared her story of being in an abusive relationship and how this led her to campaign as a Women’s Aid ambassador. Through her voluntary work as a “survivor ambassador” and by speaking at conferences on the issue, Mandy has done so much to raise awareness of domestic abuse. Her experiences even informed the Radio 4 series ‘The Archers’’ high profile domestic abuse storyline which had a huge impact in raising awareness of coercive control.
Milly, Freelance Radio Producer
Milly was introduced to radio whilst in rehab, later becoming a regular reporter for Radio 4’s flagship programme; Woman’s Hour, where she’s found her niche in reporting on subjects she has lived experience of. Recently Milly produced and presented ‘The Fix: Woman and Addiction’ a nine-part radio series for Woman’s Hour which was inspired and personally authored by her own experiences of being a woman in recovery. She showed how her past is no longer a shameful secret but has become the experience she draws on to inform her work and allows her to humanise her subjects and tell their stories with nuance and empathy. She champions the idea that by listening to, and amplifying new voices we can find new solutions to old problems.
Lorraine Jones, Dwaynamics
Lorraine is a community leader, she is someone that has turned her pain into a force for postitive change. Lorraine’s son Dwayne Simpson was a few months short of his 21st birthday when he was fatally stabbed in Brixton in February 2014. He was acting as a Peace Keeper helping a younger boy who was being chased and died as a result. He had set up a boxing gym to support young people in his Brixton Community. Lorraine relaunched the boxing scheme as Dwaynamics to honour his memory. The scheme helps young people develop life skills through boxing and fitness, training, mentoring and employability workshops offering an alternative to young people who might be affected by youth violence. She speaks out about the power of community to support our young people. Just last night Lorraine was named Daily Mail’s Inspirational Woman of the Year.
Charlie Craggs, Nail Transphobia
Charlie is a woman on a mission, and she has her own unique form of activism. Her first campaign Nail Transphobia began as a university project, setting up a nail bar to give people an opportunity to sit down and speak with a trans person. She’s since taken the nail bar around the country to museums, universities, businesses, even doing Richard Branson’s nails. Her most recent campaign calls for the addition of a trans emoji. What ties all of her campaigning together is the need to end the stigma, and challenge misconceptions of trans experiences. Charlie’s activism is focused on getting outside of the LGBT community reaching those that need to hear her message, even if that can be uncomfortable.
Amanda Hailes, An Untold Story
Amanda is one of twelve women supported by the Lighthouse Project who came together to form a collective called An Untold Story. They have all been involved in street prostitution in Hull and they published a book to tell the stories of their lives through poetry, interviews, prose and artwork. Amanda tells her story in her own way and in her own words to shatter the stigma and create understanding for women with similar experiences who face neglect and marginalisation. She has since gone on to participate in peer research with Agenda Alliance using her lived experience to further inform change for other women.
These are just five of the female changemakers we’re celebrating today for International Women’s Day. Follow us on Twitter @sounddelivery
This month we’re crowdfunding to support a network of spokespeople who are using their lived experiences to offer ideas and solutions to some of societies big social issues. We have an ambitious goal so please do take a look at our page to find out why this network matters.