Women’s Words Manchester is up and running.

Thank you everyone who came to our launch event at the Pankhurst Centre this morning. It was lovely to have so much support from Arts Council England, Manchester Libraries and Archives and, of course, The Pankhurst Trust, Women’s Aid, Soroptimists International Manchester, and our artistic partners, WordPlay Community Arts, The Real Story and others.

We talked, we laughed, we ate cake, and we celebrated the journey we’ve been on up to this point. Then, we rejoiced over the fact that we are doing something concrete to battle inequality, marginalisation and silence.

As a woman who was born and raised in Sri Lanka, I only came to England, to Manchester in August 2005. Since coming here, to this wonderful, vibrant city that is truly now my home, I’ve finished my Masters, then completed my PhD and learned to speak up, speak out and write about the truth that matters to me. I learned to face the demons and trauma I’ve gone through, including but not limited to having had female genital mutilation done to me at the age of seven.

Stories have power.

Talking about them, sharing them, especially not as a victim or a survivor, but as a warrior, doing all you can to educate people, helps. But more, it re-writes, re-frames and re-positions your narrative. I don’t know yet what my contribution to the archive is going to look like, but I know that I am going to write my truth. I hope that one day, someone else reading it will find in my journey a little ray of hope.

I know you have a real life-story to share. I know this, because we all do. Each one of us is on a journey, a journey into growth, understanding and self-discovery.

Please add your story to our archive. You have until the 24th of November to send us your submissions. Let’s truly capture this moment in time. Let us document our journey as women so that we can inspire future women with our triumphs, battles, challenges and truths.

Councillor Mary Rose Watson, a true inspiration said,

I’m proud to be an older woman, a Labour Councillor & a feminist first, last and always!

Young or old, your story matters!