At Semble we believe that communities hold the solutions and that by giving them the tools to grow and sharing their knowledge and experience we can support community action to thrive. In honour of International Women’s Day, we’ve crowdsourced some nuggets of wisdom held by women creating change in communities across the UK. We’ve spoken with a bunch of great organisations all of which are women-led or have women’s interests at their core. Here are the lessons they shared:
1. Know your worth
Being a woman driving change in your community can feel intimidating at times. Male-dominated spaces and societal beliefs can undermine our confidence and cause us to question ourselves . It is important to value our unique voices and experiences, as when we trust ourselves we inspire the trust of others. Some achieve this through storytelling – a reflective tool that helps us recognise our worth, celebrate our achievements and promote the causes we support.
If you believe in your own value and knowledge, others will not question it.
Cat Ross, Baby Basics
2. We’re stronger together
Surrounding ourselves with people that believe in the work we do is essential, either by bringing in new members to your team or through wider collaborations. There are many ways you can expand your network, such as attending relevant events and contributing to forums connected to your mission and values.
Build on the assets that are already in your community, map out potential partnership and work geographically.
Caro Kemp, Girls Rock School Edinburgh
Try to connect with another leader or emerging leader in your sector at least once a week.
Georgina Wilson, BUD
3. Use your platform
Leverage your passion to truly empower other women. This is not just about celebrating their amazing qualities and achievements. It’s also about using your position to champion and lift up others as part of a wider movement.
Stand up for one another. Demand equity and equality for each other. So you’re getting paid. Great. Now make sure everyone else is too, and refuse to participate in unethical practices.
Gabby Edlin, Bloody Good Period
4. Set intentions and know your own limits
The same passion that drives women to make change in the community can also lead to us taking on too much. A sense of perspective is key to progressing with objectives. Don’t feel guilty if you have to say no, we’re only human and we all have our limits!
I have learnt that it is okay not to be perfect and it is important to be honest with ourselves … also it’s okay to do the same for others.
Carina Faria, PACT
As we continue to pour out our hearts and souls into this work, let us not forget that we too are important. What gives you energy? Make time for you. I bet the world will keep on spinning even if you took 15 minutes out for yourself every day.
Georgina Wilson, BUD
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Making real change will involve facing challenges that you might not feel equipped or capable of tackling on your own. Use your networks, both personal and professional, and ask for the support you need. You won’t always get the help you need at first try, but raising your hand is the first step.
Ask for help, just ask, the worst that can happen is they’ll say no, there is no harm in asking!
Claire Taylor-Haigh, Women Like Me.
We’ve all got skills we can share, which will give other women more confidence to step forward. We can’t do it on our own, we should join forces to create the change we want.
Carolina Pinto, Thames 21
6. Be Patient
Real change takes time and there will be setbacks along the way. People may drop out, and you may begin to doubt yourself. In these instances, take a step back, take stock, be patient and dust yourself off to try again.
Community action is something that takes time and patience.
Sophia Kyprianou, Crafternoons
Want to hear more from brilliant women driving change?
Thanks to all the women who shared their learned wisdom with us. For more information on the contributing community organisations and the incredible impact they are making, see below:
Baby Basics: semble.org/project/baby-basics-uk/
Black Country Fusion FC: semble.org/project/black-country-fusion-fc/
Bloody Good Period: semble.org/project/bloody-good-period/
Girls Rock School Edinburgh: semble.org/project/girls-rock-school-edinburgh/
Helping Homeless Believe: semble.org/project/helping-homeless-believe/
PACT, Family Food Club: semble.org/project/pact-southwark-parents-and-communities-together/
Remade Network: semble.org/project/remade-network/
Thames 21: semble.org/project/thames-21/