Don't go there SIANAARRGH!

It takes a lot of confidence to be this ridiculous.

WiL Diaries – Part II: ‘A weekend of inspiration and participation’

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
― Audre Lorde

I’m safely back on British soil after my adventures in Bremen and what an adventure it was! I feel refreshed, inspired, and empowered.

I started the weekend by running my ‘Taking Up Space’ workshop, which was oversubscribed. Lots of keen and enthusiastic people joined me to explore where in society we feel most invisible, why we feel invisible, and how we can take up our rightful space and become visible. We explored low self-esteem, the fear of failure, as well as Intersectional Feminism and why it is important to understand that groups in society are rarely, if ever, homogeneous.

I started my workshop by asking the participants to tell me something they like about themselves – almost everyone found it hard to do. How can people take up their rightful space if they are not confident in themselves, who they are, and what they have to offer? I also got the participants to write a letter to their younger self, knowing what they know now. I asked them to see if they were afraid of the same things today as they were back then. All of the workshop activities were done with the aim to deconstruct ideas of visibility and invisibility.

At the end of the workshop, we came up with five recommendations for how people can move forward after the conference and take up space and be leaders in their own right at work, at home, with their friends and family and so on. We called this the ‘WiL Womanifesto’:

  • Listen to each other more
  • Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you
  • Speak up for yourself and for others, but never speak over them
  • Take failure as an opportunity to learn and grow

And finally, and perhaps the most difficult recommendation of all:

  • Accept who you are, just as you are

People from all over the world came together to discuss how we can help more women feel empowered enough to take on roles of leadership. I am glad that this issue is important to so many people, regardless of geographical borders. The conference itself is proof of what young people, young women, can achieve when giving the time, support, encouragement, and resources they need to flourish.

The WiL conference organisers encouraged delegates to take a very solution-focused approach to the problems we identified and this is something I will personally implement in my professional and personal life. There are many problems and not enough solutions. Yet.

But where there is a WiL, there is a way!

The first post in this series can be read here.

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This entry was posted on April 19, 2015 by in Education and tagged , , , , , , , .
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