So on June 18th, She Speaks had their inaugural event at the JAMPRO auditorium.
I had actually prepared for this seminar/talk by getting my business cards printed, arriving early and walking with my notepad and pencil. You can read more about how you decide which seminars to go to and how to prepare for them by clicking on the links.
At the very beginning, She Speaks was said to be a “space for stories and sharing knowledge”. This, I realized, set the overall tone and dictated the purpose of the presentations. The event gave 7 incredible women the ability to tell their stories and speak on various topics. I appreciated how varied the topics were. for example Kelly McIntosh started with her weight loss journey and how she learnt to honour herself and Tameka A Coley went into how we can take care of our mental health. Chevonnese Chevers-Whyte spoke about female parity in the animation industry while Titanya Clarke gave us all the the tea on e-learning and what the future of learning look like. Rachel Morrison implored us to take control of our sexual health and well-being while Emma Lewis spoke about climate change will disproportionately affect women, further sparking a conversation about what climate change will mean for all of us. Shauna Fuller-Clarke gave us a synopsis of female empowerment and leadership with a focus on toxic environments. I really appreciated the fact that she gave coping mechanisms because too often we forget about women who cannot change their situation at the snap of a finger. Therefore hearing her acknowledge that was a breathe of fresh air.
At the end, we were offered refreshments. The cupcakes were great and I’m not even a fan of sweet things. There was also a golden opportunity to network. By this time, my social battery was almost at 0 so I spoke to a couple people, gave out my card and headed home. If you’re naturally introverted like me, here are some tips to help you network.
This is the first women empowerment event I’ve ever gone to and that’s not an accident. I’ve always hated how inaccessible women empowerment events tend to be. They always seem to exclude the most vulnerable women of the population especially with their price points. I understand that putting on things cost money, however, I truly feel that if people really wanted to reach out to the most vulnerable women in society, or put on something cheap/free, they’d find a way. She Speaks found a way.
The event was free and for me that was very important. In addition to that it was live streamed on IG and even though I was present, I appreciated that other people had access to it. It seemed like they were extending a hand for other women to join them.
I thought this was a great opportunity to network and form genuine connections with each other just as how the men have been doing for years. What I’d like to see personally are different installments of She Speaks in a variety of communities and across the country. This can be organized by anyone who has the will. It doesn’t have to be somewhere formal, people can round up young girls in a community at the community centre and just speak to them. They can have little meetings on their verandahs. Women can form email threads, Whatsapp groups etc.
She Speaks, to me, is more of a movement and shouldn’t be reduced to just a one event every couple months. The whole premise of the event, from my interpretation, is forming networks and helping out the women around us by sharing our stories and knowledge so we can all win. Make no mistake, the sharing of stories must come with the sharing of opportunities and providing support. That’s how we win.
The next blog post will include valuable information from the event I think would be useful.