Empowering women: “The best change comes from grassroots”

In light of the Women’s march in Bristol, aimed at U.S President Donald Trump, the newly formed Female Empowerment Network (FEN) held their first event on Wednesday 22nd February.

FEN was set up as a progression after the march organised by Carly Lightbrown who envisages FEN as ‘the city’s feminist superheroes’ getting concrete work done.

Six different organisations and charities spoke, and networked with each other, as well as with members of the public about what they are doing in Bristol to help improve the lives of women.

All of  the charities campaign on different issues that effect women, including Bristol Women’s Voice (BWV), who are working towards making women’s equality in Bristol, a reality.

Ellie Vowles from Bristol Women's Voice. Photo credit: Chloe Dell
Ellie Vowles from Bristol Women’s Voice. Photo credit: Chloe Dell

BWV have set out clear objectives which include eliminating gender discrimination, supporting relevant research and to raise awareness in equality and diversity.

Ellie Vowles from BWV spoke about the importance of attending events such as these.

What is clear from this event is how although the charities were set up for various purposes, the cross over between them is what will bring about change.

The womens marches which were held internationally set a precedent that coming together within communities is a new focus for these groups.

This is a topic that is widely discussed not just in Bristol, but worldwide. The point of many of the organisations is to not just empower women to pursue different professions but for men to feel like they can also follow any career path they wish.


One of the ways in which they will continue their campaign is protesting a visit by convicted domestic abuser and world champion boxer, Floyd Mayweather at the Mariott. This happens to fall on the same day as International Womens Day on 8th March. During the event Ellie signposted this visit as damaging and unacceptable.

FEN and the other charities made it clear their aim is empower men, as well as women. It is important that men feel like they can be involved with working towards gender equality.

BWV believe this could help with things like men entering traditionally more female dominated roles, such as a job in childcare.

In the lead up to International Womens Day on 8th  March, Bristol Women’s Voice are holding their own event on 4 March at the M Shed which will host workshops and stalls.

You can find Bristol Women’s Voice on the map below:

Jack Tunstall (filming, interviewing, writing)

Chloe Dell (filming, writing)

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