Bristol Women’s Voice are looking to recruit an enthusiastic and innovative person to our staff team. We have funding for an exciting work programme for the next 4 years. Our flagship event each year for International Women’s Day is the centennial time for us to celebrate and will be a huge production. The successful candidate will enjoy a pivotal role in organising and celebrating with us. Aside from IWD we have a yearly programme of smaller events and projects.

For more information please see the job description and person specification.

The deadline for applications is 18.00 on 2nd April.

Interviews are to be on the 10th and 11th of April.

For further information or an informal chat please do not hesitate to contact Maryanne Kempf, Vice Chair at or 07944948156.

How to Apply:

Please email your completed Application Form and equality monitoring form to Maryanne Kempf, Vice Chair at

A member of BWV, based in Bristol, has an online survey looking at the effect of a mother’s empathy on a child’s emotional development.  

She is looking for mothers who live in Bristol to participate in this study (which is a 5-minutes online questionnaire) who have children aged 2-4 years. See the Participant Information Sheet for more details on research study.

Should you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact her at

Avon and Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, along with other senior leaders, are keen to encourage a greater diversity of candidates for directly elected roles. The PCC is offering an opportunity to shadow her to give an insight into the role of a Police & Crime Commissioner both at police Headquarters and in the Avon & Somerset community.

The scheme is open to all but it is hoped we will receive interest from under-represented groups – women, BME, LGBT and disability to encourage greater representation and involvement from the Avon & Somerset community. A simple appointment process will be run dependant on the number of candidates applying for the shadowing scheme (possibly 1 – 3 candidates per financial year for the next two years). This is however flexible and will be tailored depending on the final number of applications.

The PCC website has further information about the role and application pack documents  – see link below;

To download an application pack please visit or contact the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner on 01275 816825.

This week, Bristol Women’s Voice met with Carly, the organiser of Bristol Women’s March to chat to her about her motivations behind organising a march in Bristol, and ideas about how to encourage action for women to take forward the enthusiasm, passion and drive that they gained from last week’s march.

Carly moved from London to Bristol only six months ago, after years of anxiety about feminism, that her voice doesn’t deserve to be heard and a lack of confidence. Her work in a professional capacity in the women’s fitness community around respecting your body and yourself bubbled away under the surface until Trump came along, and at this moment, she never felt so passionate about wanting to do something positive.

Carly had never organised a march before, so when she noticed four days before that her closest one was Cardiff, she thought that she would march in Bristol, and if she was the only one walking, so be it. She set up an event on social media that evening, and overnight, 200 people had registered. By the Friday morning, it was 600 and then by the Friday evening, 1144 sign ups. She had a bit of a panic, phoned 101 and then emailed attendees to let everyone know that she wanted the march to be happy and positive.

After a sleepless night, she got up at 6am, put on Missy Eliot and thought, well what would Missy do in this situation? Own it and enjoy it. So she did.

When Carly herself arrived on College Green and looked back to still see women on Queens Square, it felt quite emotional that her seemingly small decision four days ago to march herself in Bristol had garnered such an amazing response from women across the city.

Carly’s life changed dramatically over those four days – she had wonderful women across the city emailing her to offer help with supporting her on the march, as well as helping with press releases on the day. And whilst she has her own life and job to go back to, she feels inspired to help empower others to take further action, and is setting up a monthly meeting to provide women with the opportunity to find out about what is going on in Bristol, and take forward action about what is important to them. Can you make it?

WHEN: Wednesday 1st Feb, 6.30-8.30pm

WHERE: The Watershed Cafe Bar @ “The Link” area 

(up the stairs/lift and on the right as you go in. It’s fully accessible!)

Register: Take 10 seconds and click to register HERE.

In the meantime, we spoke about immediate ways women can take forward their action, passion and enthusiasm –

  1. Donate spare money to local women’s charities (like ourselvesSARSASMissing Link, Womankind, One25, Refugee Women of Bristol to name a few)
  2. Donate your time to local charities – many are always on the look out for additional pairs of hands, some will have specific voluntary programmes and many are looking for people to fundraising for them – particularly as women’s charities have felt the impact of the cuts and austerity over the last few years
  3. Donate old clothes and umbrellas to One25
  4. Support local female artists, women-run businesses etc.
  5. Start conversations with friends and/or colleagues about why you decided to march last week – by talking with people, you are creating new dialogues with people who may not have felt the same way!
  6. Let Bristol Women’s Voice know if you have an idea of how to create change – often we can help, facilitate or provide support.

Change starts with you, and you can make a difference.


Bristol Women’s Voice is currently advertising for an Events Internship to support our organisation plan and deliver a city-wide event for International Women’s Day. The role is suitable for someone with a passion for women’s rights with an interest in event and project management. The role is for between one and three days per week from January to March.


Volunteers can claim back expenses for travel and lunch up to a total of £5 per day

Main point of contact: Programme and Campaigns Manager

Starting: Last week of January 2016

Estimated duration of role: mid March

Estimated time to be volunteered: up to 3 days per week (can be spread over different days, worked from home and outside of normal working hours if needed)

Hours: 10am-5pm but can be flexible if needed.

Location: St Pauls, Bristol

Areas covered by the role:

  • Assist in recruiting volunteers to support our IWD
  • Assist in designing, editing and uploading our IWD programme onto our website
  • Assist in the implementation of the strategy for communicating, advertising and marketing our IWD with members and the wider public via social media
  • Liaising with volunteers, workshop leaders and other staff to ensure a coordinated and well run event
  • Assist in preparing for the event, including drafting instruction guides, signage and designing evaluation of the event

Skills and Qualifications:

Ideally the volunteer will have some of the following skills, but we are also open to applications from those committed to women’s rights and gender equality that are looking to gain experience

  • Fluent spoken and written English
  • Commitment to women’s rights and gender equality
  • Good writing skills
  • Good communication and administrative skills
  • Good time management
  • Ability to work independently
  • Computer literate
  • Understanding of / experience of using social media for an organisation or campaign
  • Previous events experience
  • Website maintenance experience (this is not an essential requirement as our website is easy to pick up)

How to apply:

Please send a CV and covering letter outlining your relevant experience to: with Events Internship in the subject line. The closing date for applications 5pm 30th December 2016.

Please separately attach the Equality Monitoring Form.

Please note that we do not have the capacity to reply to candidates not shortlisted for interview.

Interviews will take place on Wednesday 4th January 2017 in Brunswick Court, Brunswick Square, BS2 8PE.



Bristol Women’s Voice is organising an event for International Women’s Day under the theme “Taking Up Space”. It will take place on Saturday 4th March 2017 from 11am until 5pm at the MShed.

Women are under-represented in many spheres of life – whether that is political representation, as CEOs in private companies, in science and technology industries and even in the media. We aim to challenge that narrative on International Women’s Day – bringing women’s voices to the forefront and showing that value that women have in our city.

Each year, we invite women to participate in the day with us!

We will be putting together a collection of workshops, talks, performances, debates and stalls. We are asking interested women’s groups in Bristol to submit a brief form if you would like to participate in the day. For previous examples, please check out last year’s programme.

Please note, that we have limited time, space and capacity, so unfortunately, we will not be able to select everyone to participate. Selection will be based on its relevance to our theme, aim and diversity of activities.

Download our form to register your interest here and please send to by Friday 20th January.

Many thanks,

Bristol Women’s Voice

Bristol City Council has predicted that it will face a funding gap of at least £92m by March 2022 if it tries to carry on running services the way they are at the moment.  The Mayor is asking local people to come forward and let him know what matters to them and share any ideas or solutions they might have.  The council’s ideas for beginning to bridge this gap have been published as part of its draft Corporate Strategy.  These changes are likely to have a direct effect on a large amount of people across the city so don’t miss your chance to have a say. The consultation is live and runs until 5 January 2017.

Can you join us to add your voice to our collective response?
7th December 6:30-8:00pm
Hiley Room, Broadmead Baptist Church, 1 Whippington Ct, Bristol BS1 3HY

We have organised a meeting for our members and for women’s organisations to come and speak to us about their concerns about the Budget cut proposals. We want to hear from women’s organisations and women about the impact it may have on you, and on services that support you across the city! We are concerned about the impact it may have on protecting women’s services, as well as the disproportionate impact that the cuts may have on women in Bristol. 

Please contact Sian if you can make it, or if you can’t but want your voice included in our response.

Bristol Big Sisters conference took place on 16th October 2016. The event was organised not only to give a voice to Muslim women of all ages and backgrounds who live in Bristol, but also to explore possible ways for them to talk about issues that matter to them. The event was organised by the Women’s Partnership Advisory Group of Building the Bridge Group and chaired by a panel of inspiring representatives from the Home Office, the Police, Building the Bridge, SARI, Bristol City Council, Bristol Women’s Voice and Voice by Volume. The conference was very moving and shed light on many sensitive issues that Muslim women are currently facing in their everyday lives.

Different workshops took place, covering issues such as health and well-being, cultural identity and empowerment, creative writing and barriers to employment. Many of the attendees were able to use these workshops as an outlet to express their frustration. It became clear that there is still a great deal of stigma associated with how mental illness is perceived, and this is particularly clear when contrasted with the fact that society generally regards problems with physical health to be more acceptable.

Many women expressed their concerns that even in the present day, women are still over-extending themselves and being held responsible for taking care of the people around them, whilst having to juggle the work-life balance and live with the pressure of family life.

“Why is mental illness seen so negatively?” was a resounding question at the conference. Clearly many women who attended these workshops acknowledged the sensitivity that surrounds the issues, yet still struggle to find ways to challenge the negative attitudes that surround mental illness.

There was a general consensus that many Muslim women feel somewhat subjugated. The theme of being constrained to a life of drudgery within the four walls of their male dominated household came up again and again. One of the challenges being faced by women in the Muslim community is that they are not given much of a voice in decision-making, nor do they feel free to put forward a point. This is in fact backed up by research that states many women from South-Asian background suffer the most in regards to mental illness and find it challenging to voice their views. This may play a role in the low uptake of mental health services, as they feel unable to seek help (Trivedi et al. 2007).

The Muslim population are likely to suffer the most with mental health difficulties, when compared with other minority groups (Kaur-Bola, K. and Randhawa, G. 2013), why?

It emerged clearly in the workshops that change needs to happen. Many women expressed their concerns and fears that religion itself could be a potential barrier. They agreed that some of those responsible for religious leadership can change the meaning of Islam and use its guidance to condition Muslim women and evoke feelings of guilt should they decide to seek help. These workshops provided women with a safe space to talk, without being judged and also provided them with relevant information and signposting them to services which are available.

Attention was also given to Islamophobia and hate-crime, and the impact that these are having on the lives of Muslim women who are on the receiving end of it. Many women expressed their concerns about being made to feel bad about wearing their headscarves, as wearing a headscarf can identify you as a Muslim. This can make them a very easy target for intimidation and receiving abusive comments and really sheds light not only on the severity of the issue but also the extent of its impact on women’s wellbeing and self-esteem. Furthermore, what became apparent in the workshops was that the cultural and religious values that they adhere to may be playing a role in making some women feel helpless, guilty and even afraid of taking a step in addressing some of their fears. It appeared that they clearly know what is best for them and what is not, but many women struggle to voice their views and challenge the system. What was apparent however is that the younger generation are now taking steps to address these issues. Despite this there clearly needs to be more campaigning in regard to raising awareness and opportunities to enable women to have a voice and more control in decision making.

Islam teaches equality and mutual respect (Ahmad and Modood 2014) but despite this what came out in the group discussions was the acknowledgement that the gender inequality experienced by many Muslim women means that they continue to live in submissive relationships. These workshops also brought to attention the fact that many of the beliefs that Muslim women hold, and which stem from their cultural identity, serve to normalise the adversity that they often experience in relation to their gender roles. How then can these women ask for help if this is the way in which they have been brought up?

It’s almost as if many Muslim women are fighting not just within the four walls of their homes but also against how society is treating them now.

As a married Muslim woman and as a mother, I felt very connected with the women at the conference. The discussions provoked many feelings in me, as I have first-hand experience of the pressure of being a wife, a mother and a daughter-in-law. I am also aware of how my cultural values have played a role in making me feel guilty for doing something that is right for myself and how being a Muslim woman can be challenging as I have to juggle my work/life balance, often sacrificing my autonomy and integrity to please people around me.  When will there be an end to this misogyny? When will our women get justice? When will not just the wider society, but also our own people treat us women with respect and our decision-making?

I strongly feel that there needs to be more support for Muslim women alongside campaigning to raise awareness in regard to accessing support for those women who are struggling to cope with the numerous demands made on them. Such support needs to acknowledge the context in which women may need support, against a backdrop of cultural values and beliefs that sees women’s roles as subservient to men and limited to the confines of the family. The women who attended the conference were very engaged in the process of sharing their views and experiences and as a result a rich discussion was had. There clearly is a lot happening behind closed doors and when women struggle with the pressure that they are often put under, it is absolutely vital that they can access the right support at the right time.

Article by BWV Reporter Samreen Bhaidani


Ahmad, F. and Modood, T. (2014) Introduction 1 1 Muslims in Britain and Bristol 2 2 what are the core beliefs of Islam? 4 3 Muslims contribution to Britain and Bristol 7 4 why are Muslims always in the news? 9 5 do Muslims expect special treatment? 13 6 do Muslim women have rights in is. Available at: (Accessed: 27 October 2016).

Kaur-Bola, K. and Randhawa, G. (2013) ‘Role of Islamic religious and cultural beliefs regarding intellectual impairment and service use: A south Asian parental perspective’, Communication & Medicine, 9(3).

Trivedi, J.K., Mishra, M. and Kendurkar, A. (2007) ‘Depression among women in the South-Asian region: The underlying issues’, Journal of Affective Disorders, 102(1-3), pp. 219–225.

Photo by Lucie Laborde Briulet

Yesterday at 8:25am it felt for many as though the sky had begun to fall, like the world as we know it, the world we believed, no, hoped it would be was well and truly over. Donald J. Trump, TV personality and billionaire businessman, was officially declared the 45th President of the United States of America.

Trump’s exhaustively bizarre and venomous campaign has ended in a victory not even he could have predicted. The democratic majority have spoken and with that voice they have loudly and proudly elected a leader whose political ideology is rotten to the core. For many Brits, myself included, feelings post-Brexit resurfaced; shock, anger, sadness, but most of all the feeling of bitter disappointment at where hateful, nationalistic propaganda has landed the West once again.

The unashamed construction of the fearsome and dangerous “Other” has played a key role in the success enjoyed by both Trump and by Brexit. The familiar song of “them versus us” was played note for note and many people resolutely joined in the chorus. Consequently, these deplorable nationalistic sentiments have been being legitimised further within this toxic political climate in which we now find ourselves.

The whys and hows of Trump’s victory will undoubtedly be asked for decades to come, along with the questions like; when did people, particularly in the West, become so angry? When did the horrors of past nationalisms appear so conveniently forgotten? When did vulnerable people stop being deserving of help? When did the word refugee transform into resource-draining pariah? And when did society begin to resent diversity and multiculturalism?

As a global community, we are now faced with some tough times ahead. Uncomfortable questions need to asked and answered, certain values and power relations need to be dramatically revaluated and paths through this rising smog of nationalism must be forged. Most importantly, we must forge these paths together, we must look beyond our own communities and reach out to others for support and guidance. No one path is definitively right, if we begin to engage with and value the experiences and perspectives of others, we will inevitably begin to move forward…

The hopelessness left in the wake of this election cannot be allowed to settle on us like an invisible dust we forget to shake off. Now more than ever we must open our hearts and minds and be bountiful with our kindness as those currently in power may not be so kind to us.

Since this piece began with a falling sky, it seems only apt it should end with an ascending one. In the words of Dr. Ashkhari Johnson Hodari “if everyone helps to hold up the sky, not one person will become tired.”

Love can still trump hate.

Article by BWV Reporter Amy Cox


The first rule of midlife and ageing is you do not talk about midlife and ageing. Writers Miranda Sawyer and Marina Benjamin have broken the rule.

In their talk for the Bristol Festival of Ideas Miranda and Marina openly reflected on what the second half of life means to them, particularly in a society where women ageing is a taboo. They explore ‘midlife’ and its personal, cultural and societal significance further in their new books. Miranda’s book ‘Out of Time’ explores the crisis of recognising you’re no longer 29 and it’s not the 1990s. Taking a candid, personal approach is Marina’s book ‘The Middlepause: on turning 50’.

Both women recalled the shock moment when they realised they were in their midlife and the panic that followed. For Miranda, the shock moment led to an exercise in ‘death maths’ to work out how long she had left. Marina’s arrival in midlife was sudden and painful after a series of health blows. And then, while trying to come to terms with the changes happening in mind and body, both women realised no one wanted to talk or write or, perhaps, even think about midlife.

Miranda said she tried her best to engage other people in conversations about getting old but was met with laughter. Rather than be put off the subject, this response spurred her on to write ‘Out of Time’ about her experiences.

“British people only laugh at stuff that scares them so I knew I was on to something because people were laughing,” she said.

For Marina, it was a backlash against the usual advice given to middle aged women of buy an expensive face cream that led to her putting pen to paper. “Where’s the stuff that’s meaningful for women?” she said.

Sitting in the audience I nodded along with the other women – and a few men – who were, presumably in or nearing midlife. We all recognised Miranda and Marina’s dilemma: the shockwave of knowing you don’t have a lot of time left and that you probably messed up the first half of your life anyway and, to top it all, having no one take these fears seriously.

Much like middle aged women in society, the subject of ageing is often pushed to the background behind images of smooth skin and hair that doesn’t need a root re-touch every four weeks. It’s uncomfortable to talk about crumbling faces, creaking limbs and gloomy regrets but it’s a stage most of us – hopefully – will encounter.

Midlife can evoke a great deal of fear, loss and a kind of peculiar fascination. Rather than pretend it isn’t happening, Miranda and Marina spoke about their anxieties and physical changes. These changes generally led to middle age women becoming invisible in society. However, isn’t invisibility a super power, said Miranda who declared a sense of liberation from no longer being hassled by leering men while she walked down the street.

Miranda continued, “There’s something quite interesting the way your body is going. It’s like it’s shedding a kind of skin and a new one is coming through”. And Marina echoed these thoughts with her comments that ageing is a form of “embodied knowledge” and that listening and responding to your body’s needs is important for navigating midlife positively.

Other tips Miranda and Marina recommended for improving the second half of life were breaking-up your routines and trying something new, maybe even something you previously sneered at in your youth, and doing exercise like running which can leave you feeling excited like a child again.

And there is some good news for women hitting middle age: you realise you don’t have to have lunch with people you don’t like anymore, said Miranda. “I would waste a whole day doing that’” she said, smiling. Suddenly the word ‘no’ becomes part of your vocabulary and there’s not so much of an urgent sense of having to please people in order to be accepted and survive.

But overall, there is no map for midlife. Unlike the first half with its fairly prescriptive directions to education, job, marriage and children, once you hit middle age you have to make up the directions as you go along. This can prove exhilarating.

“No map is an exciting prospect,” said Marina.

It appears midlife can be a mixed experience of crisis, disappointment, physical ailments and unwelcome developments but it’s worth noting that it can also be a time of unexpected pleasures, freedom and new beginnings.

Article by BWV Reporter Jo Harper.