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Impressions from Bristol Women’s Voice, International Women’s Day Celebration

A woman in a bright pink cardigan standing in a room and talking to an audience at International Women's s Day 2024
Women on a panel at International Women's Day Celebration 2024

Our International Women’s Day Celebration saw over 1,000 people come through the door to attend one of our 50 workshops and panel discussions taking place throughout the day. 

Sophie Lindvold, one of Bristol Women’s Voice media volunteers on the day, shares her impressions of the day and the sessions she attended. 

Unveiling the Unseen: ADHD and Women

Lisa Whitehouse captivated a packed audience with her insightful talk on ADHD in women, shedding light on her personal struggles with the condition. The discussion emphasized how ADHD symptoms in women differ from men, leading to delayed diagnoses.

Lisa shared her own experience of receiving a diagnosis later in life, echoing the sentiment of many women in the audience who connected with her neurodivergent experiences.

One key takeaway from the talk was challenging the negative stereotype associated with ADHD. Lisa emphasized that individuals with ADHD often possess entrepreneurial qualities such as creativity, hyperfocus, conversational skills, and resilience.

She also highlighted the challenge of the NHS classifying ADHD as a mental health condition rather than recognizing it as neurodivergent, adding an extra layer of complexity to diagnosis and overcoming associated challenges.

Lisa proposed redefining ADHD as a deficit in the regulation of attention rather than a deficiency in attention as a whole. She elaborated on the paradoxical tendencies experienced by those with ADHD, ranging from hyperfocus to a lack of direction, and from compassion to high sensitivity to criticism and rejection. Lisa introduced the term “Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria,” emphasizing its common occurrence among neurodivergent individuals.

Find out more about Interculture CIC here:

Women in Tech: Bridging the Digital Divide

The Women in Tech panel discussion brought together by Alicia Teagle, Selina Martinez Keogh, Emily Hill, and Antonia Stockwell. All accomplished women who entered the tech industry from non-tech backgrounds. Each woman shared her journey into tech, highlighting their ability to ask questions as a valuable tool for building trust and knowledge.

The discussion underscored the existing digital gap in the tech industry, with only 25% of cybersecurity roles occupied by women, and even fewer holding senior positions.

The panellists addressed challenges that discourage women from pursuing tech roles, including the use of technical jargon and the perceived scrutiny of female workers. Solutions proposed included increased outreach and education by tech businesses. The suggestion of free hackathons for women and men on International Women’s Day aimed to demystify the tech industry and encourage diversity.

A noteworthy point raised was the need for modern businesses to prioritize “culture add” over “culture fit,” viewing diversity as an enhancement rather than expecting new staff to conform to established cultural norms.

Igniting Inclusivity: Adaptive/Disabled Athlete Stories

Presented by Lizzie Edgecombe, the discussion focused on disability inclusivity in sports, drawing inspiration from her work in New Zealand and the creation of the women’s wheelchair basketball team. Back in the UK, Lizzie worked (and is still working) with Access Sport to establish Ignite Bristol, promoting accessible sports opportunities for people with both visible and invisible disabilities by combining all accessible sport venues under one umbrella.

Ignite Bristol’s mission is to ensure that no one is excluded from community sports by providing training and education to communities and organizations.

Lizzie highlighted the importance of creating sustainable sports arenas and fostering trust among people with disabilities who may have experienced previous disappointments in inaccessible sports clubs.

She also emphasized the need for a paradigm shift in how we approach sports, advocating for a more inclusive and child-led perspective rather than a strictly competitive one. Ignite Bristol aims to increase awareness through social media and word of mouth, aspiring to collaborate with occupational therapists, physios, schools, and educational institutions to reach a broader audience.

Find out more about Ignite Bristol here:

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