On 10th October, Bristol Women’s Voice held its Annual General Meeting at The Station. The event was an excellent opportunity to celebrate the work that BWV has done over the past year, as well as the chance to find out what BWV members and women in the community need. An overview of year’s events was given by Penny Gane, the Chair of BWV’s Board of Trustees. It’s been a really exciting year for BWV, including: a huge parade in honour of women’s suffrage; the production of a short film; presence at Upfest; and an enormous range of events that took place across Bristol to acknowledge International Women’s Day. Ellie Vowles, BWV’s Coordinator, then spoke about BWV’s current and upcoming projects, including: workshops around mental health, the menopause, and maternity discrimination; Bristol Zero Tolerance; the Women of Lawrence Hill research project; and the Representation project.
Welcoming new trustees
During the event, we also welcomed BWV’s seven new trustees, all of whom have a wealth of relevant experience and a strong commitment to women’s issues. I spoke to two of them, to find out more about their relationship with BWV, their previous experience, and what they want to see from BWV in the future.
Emma became a member of BWV around six months ago – she attended the lantern parade in January, and then wanted to become involved. She has previous fundraising experience, which she gained working for a charity that supports adults with learning disabilities. Emma is keen to be involved with work that keeps progressing rights for women and girls, particularly in light of this years’ centenary of (some) women achieving voting rights. I asked her what she’d like to see over the next year for BWV; Emma’s a “big believer in connecting people together” and is optimistic about the possibility ofworking with other organisations to push forward.
Stephanie has previous experience as a treasurer for multiple organisations, and has also been campaigning for a long time regarding the sex entertainment venues (SEVs) in Bristol. She described tonight’s AGM as “inspiring”, emphasising the importance of celebrating progress towards greater rights for women and girls. Stephanie wants to see BWV keep up the good work, and see our projects to continue to develop and grow in new directions.
There were also some fantastic performances and talks delivered during the AGM. The event started with music from Dionne Draper and Tan Teddy, including a performance of “We Rise” – a song celebrating female empowerment that BWV commissioned Dionne to write. There was also a martial arts theme – Dr Naomi Paxton gave an enlightening talk about the role of jiu-jitsu in the suffragette movement, and members of the Artemis Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu group gave a demonstration of some common techniques. The spoken word artist Nadinne Dyen performed several powerful pieces, that urged attendees to keep using their voice, and to connect with the community around us.
The AGM also included a round-table discussion, to get an insight on what members would like from BWV, and what makes women in Bristol feel safe and unsafe. Ideas and suggestions from the discussions will be used in planning members’ meetings going forward, and to influence the delivery of future BWV projects. The AGM was inspiring, and made me feel excited about the future of the organisationand everything that’s coming up!
Written by BWV reporter Laura Hillier