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CamAWiSE join Women of the World (WoW)

WOW Pin Art

Pin art at the WoW CamAWiSE stand

By Pauline Matthews, member of Cambridge AWiSE

The ‘Pick of the Day’ session was enthusiastically introduced by Natasha Wilson who introduced four women to talk about their experiences of the day and particularly to find out what women want for the International Women’s Day which will extend to a weekend in March 2015.

The first person to pass on her experiences of the day was Norah Al-Ani from Cambridge Rape Crisis. Norah said it had been an incredible day of celebration and challenging inequalities. The day had given her organisation the opportunity to talk to others, to get ‘money in the box’ and offers of volunteering. She was thrilled to have had her nails at the Nail Bar and eaten fantastic biscuits that were on sale especially for WOW attendees. When asked what she would like for the WOW event in March she said that she wanted ‘This again’.

Phoebe from ‘Influences Nail Bar’ was the next person to share her enthusiasm for the day’s events.  She said that she was delighted to get out of London and work with groups in Cambridge and to engage them in issues that impact on them today. She had first shared her vision of empowering women and girls through nail art in 2013.  Conversations about various subjects can be opened up whilst having your nails painted e.g. mental health and the support available.  Phoebe’s wish for the WOW event in March is to have something available for men.

Next to talk was a woman invited from the audience who spoke to us about her experience of mentoring.  She had been so inspired by a poet who was a mentor that she was now going to go home and open her keyboard.  Also a mentor had suggested to her that instead of looking at people straight in the eye, in this culture it is better to look at the left ear.  Then the person you are talking to will not feel so threatened! She also heard more about cultural differences that she had not been aware of and was able to pass on some advice to one of the mentors.
For the WOW event in March, more mentoring was her wish.

Finally Caroline spoke to us about women and abuse.  Caroline was holding her lovely dog, Poppy and I admit that I could not concentrate so well on Caroline’s remarks due to to this gorgeous puppy looking at the audience in amazement! However, Caroline did say that as well as the WWW enabling people to abuse each other, it also gives us a voice, e.g. starting a blog/giving women a sense of solidarity.  Because of her work in a Sexism project, she had been threatened.  However, she is pleased that she can let girls know that it is not right to put up with inappropriate b_ehaviour from men.
When asked about anything to add for the March event, she said ‘No, it’s perfect.’

We also heard that Dame Carol Black that during the session on Women at Work and Wellbeing, for physical and mental health she runs every day and wears red to feel powerful.  Additionally when she wants to feel powerful, she imagines wearing a teflon coat and a helmet.

The opportunity to sit in the Woman’s Room was recognised as a great opportunity to chat and make connections.

It was noted that there does not appear to be any Meetups for WOW in Cambridge and how this would be a very good idea.

The session was brought to a lively close by Natasha asking us all to let her know what we would like to be included for the March WOW and thanking us all for such a great day.

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