What people said about the October gathering

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We asked people what they thought of the October gathering and this is what they said:

‘Good to meet some interesting, motivated and pioneering women and to absorb the excellent content.’

‘My experience of the day was great. I found the women I didn’t know very friendly and willing to chat. It was good to have some space in the day to chill and it wasn’t too intense which I really appreciated.’

And from someone coming for the first time:
‘I was a bit apprehensive about coming on my own but I found others were friendly so this wasn’t an issue. The other thing I was concerned about was that this would be another ’tissues and issues’ women’s conference type thing but I was reassured of this before the day by talking to one of the organisers. It was really good that is was normal(ish!) women who lead normal(ish) lives gathering together to share their experiences without any hype.’

On Liz’s communication session:
‘I was apprehensive when we started. I don’t mind public speaking but usually hate this kind of training. I was pleasantly surprised though. Liz was great and I felt there were some techniques here I could use in the future.’
‘energising, useful, exciting and great to try these things out in a safe environment.’

On Emily’s work with vulnerable women:
‘Humbling and heartbreaking. Great to be reminded of the pioneering work that motivated and incredibly brave individuals can inspire. Has some resonances with the work I am involved and we plan to keep in touch.’

On Kristin’s session on feminism:
‘Probably the most useful session for me. I don’t get as much time as I would like for reading and thinking and this session was informative, interesting and presented in a manner simple enough that my brain could cope with on a tired Saturday.’

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October 2013

Photographed by Jendella

Kristin Aune talked about the resurgence of feminism, and her book Reclaiming the F-Word. The word ‘feminism’ carries lots of baggage and so her definition was helpful – ‘Beliefs and actions that challenge women’s subordination and promote their equality and value’. She talked about the connections between feminism and spirituality, and the rise of activism which challenges sexism, such as the Lose the Lad’s Mags campaigns and Everyday Sexism. You can download a handout of her presentation.

Liz Garland is an actor and presentation coach. She led us in a very practical session on communication skills which saw us shouting across the room, whispering in each other’s ears, standing up tall and generally thinking about how to get our message across. Lots of fun and extremely helpful. Jeni Hallam Benson bravely volunteered to be coached by Liz, and the difference between her ‘before’ and ‘after’ short talks was dramatic and very enlightening.

Emily Vesey then talked about the work she does with vulnerable women, which was incredibly powerful and moving.

Thanks to Liz Clutterbuck for hosting us at St George’s and to Jeni Hallam Benson for taking photos. A fabulous day with some outstanding content.