Most of my recent work has been spent working with women, exploring the things that hold them back in life and working together to help them move forwards. This was initially employment related but I was able to progress the work as the main barriers became more apparent. Poor physical and mental health resulting from childhood, domestic and sexual abuse were common as was low educational attainment among the working class women. It was obvious with the majority of women that I was the first person who had ever asked them what they really wanted from life. And while most had some idea, their aspirations were low as that is what life taught them.
From this work I was invited to be part of the consultation process to set up a Women’s Health Network, designed to pass down health messaging to the women we worked with. We were fortunate to have commissioners who were also willing to listen to the needs of women and so our network was created, meaningful consultation and engagement with all women.
Having now chaired the network for three years I have seen it grow and develop, using social media as much as network meetings and events to engage a wide range of women who all share the desire and drive to improve the health, wellbeing and lives of all women across the district.