Look back at our Community Events in 2022

A collage of images from our Dialogue event. Most of the images show women speaking.

Dialogue, Deeds, Determination Events:

October

On the 15th of October 2022, we held our second Dialogue, Deeds, Determination Event, in Wigan. We held a number of workshops creating discussion around the progress being made for women and girls and looking forward to what needs to be done in the future. The event brought together women, activists, and community organisations from across Greater Manchester.

July

On 2nd July 2022, we ran our first Dialogue, Deeds, Determination event. The purpose was to hear from women around Greater Manchester. We also wanted to celebrate work being done in all ten boroughs to promote equality for women and girls.You can read more about the day and workshops from this blog written by our guests and members:


Dialogue, Deeds and Determination – what a day!

With our Dialogue, Deeds, and Determination event in Wigan event only weeks away, we’re reflecting back on our event in July to give you a taste of what’s to come.

As the first post-pandemic face-to-face event, we brought people together from across GM for a day of celebration and conversations around women’s and girls’ equality.

Funded by the Univeristy of Manchester Civic Engagement Fund, this event was the first of 3, focusing on connecting women’s experiences with policymakers, creating space for dialogue and translating data into deeds.

But what does this mean? 

Well. There’s no better way to hear about an event than by those who came. Here’s what our attendees had to say about Dialogue, Deeds and Determination…

Setting the scene – by Lauren Rosegreen

The 2nd July 2022. This date was chosen deliberately. The Equal Franchise Act (1928) was monumental, giving ALL women the right to vote. And it was passed on 2nd July.

On the anniversary of this key date for the suffragette movement, attendees felt energised from the get-go. Helen Pankhurst opened the event by celebrating how far we’ve come, before recognising that there is still much to do. We heard from Claire-Marie Boggiano and Sofia Higgins who set the tone and outlined how the day would work. Prof Jackie Carter highlighted the importance of counting women so women’s voices count, and Gail Heath introduced the work being done by The Pankhurst Trust. The talented Deborah Smailes took to the stage to read the intro to an original GM4Women poem that she would complete throughout the day. 

I was asked to close the opening session by reading ‘Our Deepest Fear’ by Marianne Williamson. I felt incredibly empowered reading this to a room full of leaders, reminding everyone that 

“There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking,

So that other people won’t feel insecure around you”

Thanks to these words, we were eager to be the best versions of ourselves. We were inspired to create conversations, listen to one another and liberate others to do the same.

Workshop spotlight – by Emily Bell

Throughout the day, simultaneous workshops were programmed on the following topics:

Race, Gender and Employment, Football Focus, Poverty and Homelessness, Women in Technology and Urban Spaces, with additional sessions led by the Women’s Voices Survey and the GMCA Women & Girls Equality Panel.

To shine a light on one, I found the Race, Gender and Employment session led by Sofia Higgins particularly noteworthy. Framing the session with the Fawcett Report, Sofia emphasised the need for organisations to take responsibility for their diversity. Attendees suggested that this effort needs to be concerted from the top and bottom. 

My 3 favourite ideas/takeaways from this session:

  1. Can we hold councils to account?
    We could introduce a borough-wide audit to see which had the most representative staff.
  2. How do we diversify the pre-employment pipeline?
    We could use community groups to vet candidates which could result in a diverse pool of talent which may not be reached otherwise.
  3. Can we make diversity, equality and inclusion part of job descriptions at all levels?
    This would promote fairness in process and outcome.

These were just a few of my notes – I could have written so much more! I can’t wait for the next event to see what has come from the conversations had, and where we can go next.

Break-out rooms – by Beth Tappenden

An equalling interesting workshop opened an important dialouge around Women in Technology. Everyone in the session could agree that technoogloy is the future, and like any part of our future it must involve women to influence its direction towards gender equality. 

This is a big discussion, there were a few important takeaways from this session: 

  • The marketing for technology roles can be particularly off-putting. Marketing for tech jobs is often intimidating, and roles are described in such a way as to create barriers to potential applicants. We need to make technology language more inclusive, welcoming, and equalising. Until this is better we should help young girls and women from a young age view technology professions as accessible, not to be intimidated but rather excited about STEM jobs. 
  • The words ‘women in STEM’ doesn’t have to always mean women in highly technical jobs such as coding. Including women in STEM means including them in all levels of STEM companies, from coding to marketing to high-level strategy. Tech is the future so it’s vital we have women involved in any and every way possible! 
  • The group also discussed how it is not always a ‘glass ceiling’ for women in tech to break, but a ‘diamond ceiling. Women in Tech, especially in high-level, very high earthing roles are still earning less (and included less) than their male counterparts. 
  • Tech is still a hugely male-dominated business. For change to happen men must be brought into the conversation as a necessity for influencing and overcoming inequalities. There has to be a joining t=collabrtation to work towards gender equality across the technology sector. 

Capturing the event – by Tori Blakeman 


What was particularly impressive about the event were the creative ways that GM4Women captured the dialogue from the day. I ran the GM4Women Instagram account, Emily managed Twitter and Alya took over the UoM SU account, engaging with those who couldn’t attend. Afterwards, I created a reel to collate the highlights from the day. 

We were joined by a visual artist Paolo Feroleto who produced an incredible drawing, highlighting ideas and conversations from the various workshops. Deborah Smailes captured attendees’ voices perfectly in her poem ‘GM4Women2028”

Through videos, poetry, drawings and this written blog, GM4Women used a plethora of creative outlets to capture the day. This was an innovative way to collect data, reach a wide range of audiences and ensure that the event has a long-lasting impact.

Ending remarks and celebrations – by Rachael Fortune-Grant

To bring the day to an end, Helen Pankhurst asked us to choose a reflective word to sum up the day. 

Inspiring. That’s the word that spoke to me the most. 

We discussed who was from which borough to see the split of GM representation. This then informed the decision to host the next GM4Women event in Wigan, to ensure easier access for this community to be heard. Counsellor Eve Holt made a speech about her learnings and how this will impact her decision-making going forward. This was particularly poignant as we saw the direct impact that facilitating a space for dialogue had on a local policymaker.

To finish, we celebrated a day of listening and learning by cutting the incredible GM4Women cake provided by Claire Owens.

If you want to join the conversation and stay in the know about our upcoming events, sign up for our newsletter here.

Another collage of photos from the event. Mostly the photos show women smiling and/or talking to others. There is also a woman playing guitar and rosettes with the slogan Votes for Women.

Thanks to all who got involved, including the volunteers, artists, and partner organisations.

Join us to get involved in our future events!