The Women’s Words project began as a spark of an idea back in 2015. Who knew it would ring true with so many women! Who knew that so many women would take the opportunity to make their voices heard and their opinions valued.

The women of Manchester have spoken…. about their lives, their struggles and successes, their memories, both good and bad – and people have listened and learnt from their words.

Manchester Libraries is proud to have been part of this project, giving the women of Manchester a voice. As phase one of this project draws to a close I find myself looking back on our achievements during the last year…. the archive, the exhibition, the women we brought together, and hopefully the lives we enriched, and I too feel proud to have been part of something so meaningful and worthwhile.

For me, every step of the way was a huge learning curve and as I approached the Pankhurst Centre that day to ask if they would be happy to work in partnership with me to deliver this project I had no idea where the journey would lead – or if it would go anywhere at all!

As it happens it took me to a group of committed, knowledgeable, passionate women who all worked their socks off to make Women’s Words the very best it could be. The four partners involved, MCC, The Pankhurst Centre, Wordplay Community Arts and Soroptimist International each brought their individual skills, contacts and experience to the table and I have learnt so much from each and every one of them. Sharing in the creative process with such talented artists’ introduced to us by Wordplay was also a joy, and I am sure that every woman who got the opportunity to work with them as part of the project will have benefited greatly from this experience.

As a representative of Manchester Libraries I would hope that our involvement in the project has shown even more communities across our city how libraries can support and enrich our residents’ lives. As an individual I have further developed my own skill set, everything from partnership working, procurement, project management, co-ordination and organisational skills – each day I discovered something new I could do….. albeit not always easily, but definitely so worth the effort.

I will take all these skills back to my role as Service Development Co-ordinator for Manchester Libraries where the knowledge I have gained can only help me day to day to deliver the best service I can for all our residents here in Manchester, and as we begin to look forward to phase 2 of Women’s Words I am sure I will be dusting them off and bringing them to the table once more very soon in our continuing campaign to ensure that every woman has a voice.