Friday, 5 July 2019
This Thursday I had the total honour of giving a reading from the 100 Voices book at the Womenspire Awards in Cardiff. The event is an annual hootenanny celebrating women from all over Wales, especially those working in their community to bash down all sorts of barriers relating to inclusion and women's equality.
I arrived while the team behind the event, employees of the women's equality charity Chwarae Teg were still setting up in an airy hall at St Fagan's museum. School parties and tourists were ambling towards the exit, oblivious to the (expertly organised) mayhem that was about to be unleashed. After a quick sound check where I met other performers including the awesome Sarah Mccreade. I knew from the moment she smashed it with her poem "Girls are Gods" and everyone stopped what they were doing, that this was going to be a special event. Thirty minutes later, the team had transformed the empty room into a space fit for a gala. But the real transformation, I saw as I mingled with the 500 guests who arrived in their finest, was creating a space where talking about women's achievement was not only allowed, it was the default. There were so many stories told during the event, each different and inspiring in a new way. At one point I even wondered whether the world that 100 Voices is trying to create was already here. Perhaps, I thought fleetingly, we don't need this book because women's voices are everywhere in all their variety and diversity.
Then I realised - there should be no limit to the number of women's stories that are told, that people will always want to hear a great tale and that the real point is that we are just trying to balance out the voices of who gets to tell the stories we hear.
It truly was a Womenspire wonderland, a world that Chwarae Teg and many other female-led organisations are fighting to create every day. But we're not there yet, and we owe it to all the brilliant women that have gone before us, like Kate Williams Evans whose Suffragette hunger strike medal I saw at the museum, and all the amazing women who were nominated for the awards, as well as all of those fighting to get their voices heard when it seems no one is taking any notice, to keep going.
If there's one thing that was shouted to the beautiful (glass) ceiling last night, it's that we need to work together, women, men, non-binary people from all walks of life.
We are just about at 44%. If you would like to help us get to 50% and secure the future of our book which features over 100 brilliant writers telling you about their world, please email one person today this link. We could take this sparkling, energising wonderland and make it an everyday reality.
Carry on marching
Voices of Bookclub
Your choice of in person (writer's travel costs not included) or by Skype.