Who’s behind Women Speak Out?
Women Speak Out is a feminist discussion project created and led by two women, Jessica & Michelle. It’s not a formal organisation or group; it’s just two women, doing this in their own time and with their own resources.

How do I take part?
There are a few ways you can get involved with Women Speak Out:

1. By holding one of your own discussions and telling us about it.
Click here for further details.

2. By leaving your comments on this blog.
If you’re not able to come along to a discussion, but still want to share your views, then feel free to leave your comments. Just click on ‘Leave a Comment’ above the discussion post you’re interested in.

3. By downloading our booklet and spreading the word.
The discussions we held in various cities throughout 2010 have been compiled into a booklet which you can download (PDF document) here: Women Speak Out booklet 2010 – 11. Please feel free to distribute amongst anyone you think may be interested and may want to set up their own Women Speak Out-style discussion.

Why should I take part?
This is a chance to have your say on the issues that are important to you in the company of other women. A lot of communication between feminists these days takes place online, but we still feel there’s value in meeting up and talking in person with other women. We see this as a chance to listen to each other. It can be difficult to express your thoughts on particular issues, and talking things over with other people sometimes helps you to work out what you really think. Besides, we reckon it will be fun.

Who can take part?
If you are a self-identified woman living in the UK, we want to hear from you. Women of all identities, backgrounds and political persuasion are encouraged to take part in Women Speak Out, so we can document a variety of women’s voices and views.

Do I have to be a feminist?
No, you don’t have to identify as a feminist. We’re both feminists, but feminism means something different to everyone. You just have to be a woman with an opinion.

Can men take part?
We’ve arranged this just for women. But if any men do want to do something similar then it would be good to hear from them. Maybe someone could start a similar mixed group, or one just for men?

What form do the discussions take?
The discussions we held in 2010 were ‘round table’ discussions, in which women had the opportunity to share their views on a variety of topics with other women in an informal atmosphere. Participants didn’t have to turn up at the beginning of the discussion and stay until the end – they were informal conversations, so people were welcome to drop in and leave as they wished.

Women Speak Out discussions are basically a form of consciousness-raising – a space for women to get together and share their thoughts and experiences on what it’s like being a woman today and to sound off on the issues that affect you.

What do you talk about?
As people may be leaving and joining all the time, Women Speak Out discussions are not going to be a debate. It’s not a place for anyone to tell you what to think.

The sorts of subjects we covered in our previous discussions included:
• Society and the Media
• Family
• Work
• Feminism
• Being Female
• Politics
• Body Image and Health

If you want to talk about something else, that’s fine too.

Then what happens?
After each discussion, we posted a record of the discussion on this blog, which have since also been compiled into a booklet (see link above to download a copy). If you wish to hold your own Women Speak Out-style discussion, then please click here for further information. It would be great to get more reports of feminist discussions across the country to post on the blog alongside the ones we held.

Why have you only visited cities in England, not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?
We both live in England, and we haven’t had enough time or money (we’re doing this out of our own pockets) to go to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. However, we would really like to get some discussions going in other parts of the UK, so if you want to set up your own Women Speak Out-style discussion, please do, and we can post a record of it here. Click here for further details on running your own discussion.

What is all this leading to?
With this blog, in addition to the booklet we produced featuring accounts of our previous discussions, we hope to create a unique document which maps the voices and views of feminists across the country and highlights the key issues affecting women today.

We hope both booklet and the blog will inspire women to carry on their own conversations and get them thinking about how being a woman affects their lives and what we can do to change things.

How do I get in touch?
If you have any further questions, comments or ideas about Women Speak Out then please leave them below.


1 Response to “FAQs”

  1. 1 Christine Ayorinde May 6, 2010 at 11:24

    I would be interested in participating.

    The scenario has changed since I had a lightbulb moment when I began reading feminist literature in the 1970s. Sometimes it is hard to be conscious of the extent to which the position of women has changed, however.

    I feel a nostalgia for the days when it seemed that women could be women in many different ways. I am concerned that some stereotypes have been reinforced and many women do not seem particularly bothered by them. By certain measures of ‘equality’ we are doing better but not by others. Are women generally more contented with their lives now?

    With growing poverty here but particularly in developing countries, how are women doing globally compared with 40 years ago?

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