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Women’s Voice programme offers space for young women to discuss and challenge sexism

Women’s Voice has received funding from Comic Relief to run various activities for women aged 16-26. The events aim to empower young women and provide spaces for them to discuss and challenge sexism. The first event, finding power through self-portrait, takes place this coming Saturday. Ann Kramer, chair of Women’s Voice, explains a little more.

“Over the last several months, just like other organisations, we’ve been horrified by the extent of domestic abuse and the escalating attacks on women, locally and nationally. We are also extremely worried about the extent of sexual harassment of young women in our schools: it looks as if rape culture is positively endemic.

“With all this in mind, Women’s Voice was keen to host events for younger women where they could share their ideas and shape ways of expressing themselves. We held a focus group in March, where women told us they wanted to find creative ways of exploring issues of abuse and sexual harassment.

“The result is a series of events for women aged 16-26, where they can meet other women, have fun, express their concerns about sexual and domestic abuse and develop their own strategies for confronting and changing the situation. Fighting back against the prevailing attacks on women.

“Comic Relief has kindly provided some funding and we’re kicking off with a first event this coming Saturday, 3 July. It’s taking place at Rose Cottage, Gotham Alley, just off Claremont, from 2pm to 4pm, and it’s called Sense of Self: Finding Power through Self-Portraits. According to local artist Rosa, who’s facilitating the workshop, there is something very powerful and empowering about a woman creating a self-portrait.

“The workshop is free and will be fun; the only requirement is that participants should be women aged 16-26. Given Covid restrictions, places are limited but anyone who’s interested in coming along should email hastingswomensvoice@yahoo.com or phone 07904 777476.”

Saturday’s event is just the first of a various activities, which range from storytelling, capturing stories on film, upcycling, placard-making and empowerment through drama. There will also be discussions around domestic abuse and coercive control and a chance to see extracts from the Women’s Voice’s video This Is Not Love.

All events are free and will take place on Saturdays at different venues around town from now through to October. On 5 September, Women’s Voice will be inviting women to take part in a huge Reclaim the Streets march, and the programme will end, in October, with a Scratch Night where local women can showcase their skills and achievements.

Venues are still being confirmed but the full programme will be on the Women’s Voice website very soon, also Instagram and Facebook. Please contact Women’s Voice for more details: hastingswomensvoice@yahoo.com or 07904 777476.

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