At last the day had come for us to go to the first Women’s Equality Party Conference.
As we set off it was with excitement and anticipation, today was the first Conference from the Women’s Equality Party, and history was indeed in the making!
We arrived at the conference and the atmosphere was electric, so many women, so diverse. The sisterhood was palpable.
As the speakers began to speak the unity in the room became apparent, such support and encouragement from both the audience and the speakers. As well as speaking about current issues affecting women the speakers spoke of both personal and generic issues in terms of inequality affecting women and girls.
During the Open Mic Session, audience members were encouraged to go onto the stage and speak, some who had experience of doing this before and some for the very first time, the encouragement and warmth of thousands of women in the audience made this daunting experience so much easier.
I was sitting next to a member of our group, a 15 year old girl. Her words to me were “I could never get up and do that”, along with her mum I tried to encourage her to go up and say something, but hr response was an absolute “NO”. Two ladies sitting in front of us had heard the conversation we were having and also encouraged her to go to the stage, again the answer was a resounding “NO, I couldn’t do that”. Sandy Toksvig somehow got to know about this and came and took the girls hand, you could see how nervous she was as Sandy took her towards the stage. A woman who had spoken for the first time on the stage previously took the girl on stage encouraging her all the way…..the girl just said “I am pleased to be here” with a smile. What an achievement for her.
She came from the stage still shacking but she had visibly grown, a momentous occasion for her and one I am sure she will never forget, I certainly won’t, and from the chatter and mood of our journey back neither will the other women who attended with us
So much can be said about the Conference, but I guess women should go and experience it for themselves
Thank you Deeds Not Words for organising the trip and The Heritage Lottery Fund for making it possible for myself and others to take part in this significant moment in women’s history. It was truly special and sisterhood really does rock!