For International Woman’s Day, we are shining a light on Perth Women’s Collective, a National Lottery funded project run by Gender Equality Perth, who run feminist events that enable women to talk, listen and connect, reducing isolation and loneliness whilst promoting gender equality.
In this blog, Rebecca McClune, Co-founder and Chairperson of Gender Equality Perth tells us more.
For us at Perth Women’s Collective, every day is about women! But International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to highlight the brilliant things that are happening. This year’s theme, equality, also provides a chance for us to talk about a huge range of issues affecting women all over the world.
Perth Women’s Collective (PWC) is an informal group based in Perth. Empowering women through sisterhood, PWC aims to create an informal, welcoming, safe space in Perth, for women to talk, to listen, to be celebrated, and to contribute to the conversation around gender equality.
Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund, we’re running a 12-month programme of events and projects empowering local women and creating spaces for learning and discussion, with the aim of expanding and diversifying our membership.
Here are some of the highlights of the programme so far…
Learning history’s hidden women!
We kicked off our programme with some history; local author Ajay Close spoke to the Collective on Perth’s suffragette history, which included the force-feeding on four women held at Perth prison. It is a fascinating, but little-known, bit of local history that begs the question, in the words of Sara Sheridan, “where are the women?”. We traditionally don’t see much of women’s history reflected in the interpretation and representation around us; we love learning more about history’s hidden women!
‘Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs’ was the title for our first film screening of the programme, a documentary which looked at the role of women in the negotiating of the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland. We learned about the Women’s Coalition Party, who played a key role in the negotiations; something none of our attendees knew about previously. Our subsequent discussion touched on the role of women in communities and their role in politics; whether our political systems work for women or whether change is needed.
Exploring women’s feelings of safety
Our Safety Mapping Project is exploring and mapping local women’s feelings of safety within Perth city. We’ve commissioned two artists to work closely with a diverse selection of community groups to gather insight and understanding of how women interact with their city environment and how their sense of safety plays a part in this.
The artists will produce a creative interpretation of these findings. This project was launched during November 2021 as part of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
Inspiring others and sparking creativity
In February we heard an inspirational talk from local woman Cat Burton. She told us about her journey so far, from the world of video game development to creative photography and back, and the lessons she has learnt along the way. Cat shared some very relevant insights with us on freeing young people to explore their interests, following our instincts and trusting in our own knowledge and experience, and the importance of self care – among many other nuggets of wisdom!
Equality and empowerment are at the heart of our programme, with specific topics including local suffragette history, the history of feminism, violence against women, women in politics, women’s sexuality, ecofeminism and period poverty.
If you would like to find out more about Perth Women’s Collective or join in on some of their events, which includes their Feminist Book Club, visit the Perth Women’s Collective website for more details.
We’d like to extend our thanks to National Lottery players for making our project possible.