Women united on day of celebration

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The Women’s Organisation panel. Pic © Hannah Wilkinson / JMU Journalism

Issues surrounding gender inequality came to the fore in a Liverpool panel discussion held as part of International Women’s Day.

With topics ranging from being a working mother, domestic violence, families in deprived areas, to even including the Oscars, the speakers and their audience spoke passionately about what needs to be done to fight for equal treatment.

Hosted by The Women’s Organisation, which launched more than 20 years in response to mass female unemployment rates across Merseyside, the event was co-ordinated by its CEO, Maggie O’Carroll.

The panel included event chair and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party, Pamela Ball; managing director of Bluebird Services, Jayne Smith; councillor and centre coordinator at Picton Children’s Centre, Liz Parsons; CEO of the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre, Michelle Charters; and Jo Anderson of the Women’s Leadership Group.

The main message of the group was: “Women are my sisters, not my competition.”

With over 25 years of tackling inequalities and promoting social inclusion, Ms Anderson spoke of why she thinks united support is important, saying: “Men professionally support each other better than women do. It’s all part of their ‘men’s club’.

YouTube: Hannah Wilkinson

“That’s why workshops, support groups and panels like this are important. Women need to work together to create our own club, and learn to support each other and not see each other as competition.”

With a mission to reach out to people to enhance their roles in their own lives, local communities, in business and in the wider world, the meeting also touched upon on the importance of cultural equality, as well as between the sexes.

As the first black female Trustee of Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatre, panel speaker Ms Charters has spent over 30 years working in the community sector and promoting diversity.

She told JMU Journalism: “My mother taught me to work together to take people for who they are, not for what you think they should be.

“As women we are pre-judged. We do it to each other and we allow it to be done to us. People often respond to women with a voice as aggressive. I say to them ‘I am not aggressive, I am passionate – about equality, about not being judged on your race, your class, your postcode or your gender.”