What do you get when you bring together 22 women from disparate backgrounds? You get the potential for power and a united purpose that comes from real lived experience.
You create a group of women who are willing to speak for those who do not have opportunities to present their needs themselves to those who can action the changes required to make improvements in their lives. The aim of the project is to tell Scottish Government about the views of women and girls and about their lived life experience in 21st century Scotland.
Earlier this year I was privileged to be asked to join these women and collectively we are now the Empowering Women Panel. We have been tasked to report back to the Scottish Government via the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (NACWG). Our current task is to explore then report on the impact the current cost-of-living crisis is having on the lives of women and girls in Scotland.
The project is being facilitated by the Sleeping Giants Team and funded by the Scottish Government.
The Sleeping Giants Team take responsibility for all the administrative aspects of the project, arranging face-to-face and on-line meetings and training sessions. The on-line platform called Basecamp is used to communicate, record and store all Panel activities.
Our first face-to-face meeting was held in Edinburgh where we also met the NACWG members. This was a really successful meeting and the atmosphere of power and determination to work together to attain our stated purpose was palpable within the room. At this meeting we set out the parameters of how the Panel would function, ensuring they were aligned with the work being done by the NACWG.
We put together our Panel Group Agreement
We agreed to the following statements:
This was a very productive meeting and laid the groundwork for what was to come.
The second face-to-face meeting was in Glasgow and it was at this meeting that the Panel really came together and as positive entity.
We created sub-groups according to our individual skill sets and preferences and decided that our first main piece of work would be initiating Peer Research in relation how women and girls are being affected by the cost-of-living crisis. The bulk of this work would be carried forward by the Research and Evaluation sub-group, formulating questions, establishing means of recording feedback from interviews and storing responses.
The other sub-groups – concerned with Events and Planning, and Reporting and Comms - started using Zoom meetings to complete various tasks.
I believe we have made the Empowering Women Panel to be a safe and inclusive space for all and we will make sure that everyone feels respected, values and heard. No-one’s experience or voice is more important than anyone else’s and we can learn a lot from listening and supporting each other.
Sleeping Giants Community Development is a Community Interest Company Limited by Guarantee, number SC557276.
Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Scottish Government
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