Women friendly Leeds blog

Ambassadors met online on the 8th July to discuss updates to the agenda to make Leeds the first Women Friendly City in the UK. They also shared their feelings, thoughts and ideas around the campaign and general wellbeing issues for women in Leeds.

Agenda and notes

  1. Shining a Light campaign – updates of the 4 strands of the campaign. Employability – Members talked about the marketplace event planned for November, and more suggestions were made by members including the opportunities offered by mentoring schemes, such as Leeds Building Society National Women’s mentoring scheme. We also mentioned including industries where women are underrepresented, such as Engineering. Emily also updated about the Women Friendly recruitment checklist tool, which we will look to launch at the event. Also mentioned was the Springboard Development Programme. A couple of members had had experience of this and feedback was mixed.

Health – Emily updated about the H&WB board Allyship programme and outlined the focus areas: cervical screening, menopause and gynae health issues. Emily asked members if they would be willing to share stories of gynae health issues anonymously, to share with the H&WB board, to give some local evidence to help them take the issue more seriously. Members discussed prolapse, endometriosis and fibroids being a major issue, particularly with culturally diverse women.

Wellbeing – Emily updated about the wellbeing packs we are looking to develop for the Summer, in response to new emerging mental health issues, and women feeling stress around all they are juggling, and increased experience of isolation. Also, as restrictions ease, some women are reporting increased anxiety, and worry. We are still encouraging informal groups and meetups to address this, and want to promote Trust Leeds who support the development of SRG (Self Reliant Groups)

Voice & Influence – We continue to encourage involvement through hubs (women’s, culturally diverse women’s, Friday hub and Vocal Girls) using the platforms for consultation and shaping and planning actions and campaigns.

  1. Switch on to Women’s Safety Campaign – Updated that we had 1371 responses to the safety survey (40% more than the UN women national survey) There were some quite shocking results, some lengthy responses (showing the importance of the issue) and lots of data that we are currently analysing and pulling together including a lot of cross referencing of data to make it richer and give a clearer picture. There were questions from members about representation. We fed back that actually it was well represented in terms of cultural diversity. We were however lacking in younger demographics, however, the best effort was taken to share within colleges and universities, for example. Other updates were around the work we are doing with Allies at the Men’s Health Unlocked Network around devising and planning the Women’s Safety Session/workshop for men. The steering group have good representation and we are addressing gaps in diversity. Lastly, Emily is working with the Night Time Economy Thematic Group and implementing a robust and visual Ask Angela scheme in the city.

Suggestions form the members included sharing with the new Mayor Tracy Brabin who is very interested in this subject matter and to share the headline news and key stats using square social media images to be hard-hitting and grab people’s attention.


  1. Menopause Meetups – These are the 1st Weds of the month at 6:30pm on zoom. All welcome, especially new members. We have about 20 members so far with approximately 4 at each session. We are currently planning a menopause webinar panel discussion with the view to having experts and women with lived experience speak and the webinar being recorded so women and health care professionals can watch to raise awareness. Email Emily for joining instructions, or more info [email protected]
  2. Friday Hub meetings – These meetings are held every Friday lunchtime at 1pm on zoom and there is a different themed discussion each week such as “Tackling Women’s Isolation” or “Women’s gynae issues and experiences of healthcare”. Members can dip in and out of these sessions depending on what is interesting to them, or fitting into their availability, and they are kept to an hour so can potentially be fitted into a lunchbreak. Email Emily if you would like to be added to the list to receive the invites [email protected]
  3. Women Friendly Events – We have a few events planned this year and are looking for members who would be interested in supporting us to put these on, lead on certain tasks and generally help out. Events include an Employability marketplace event for women, the Menopause webinar panel discussion event, Black History Month event, and the End of Year Celebration event. Please email [email protected] for expressions of interest
  4. Women’s Hub meetings – Annette updated that the 1st face to face hub meeting has been moved to August because of changes in dates for restrictions to be eased. The new date is 10th August at 1:30pm You can sign up to the event here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rescheduled-welcome-back-face-to-face-women-friendly-leeds-womens-hub-tickets-159094825907
  • 18:00 – Pledges – Emily asked for support around pledge making. We have found that we haven’t had many folk make pledges and why might this be? Were there any suggestions to increase the numbers of pledges? Members said they thought people may see the pledges on the website and think they are nor for them, or realise they can make an easy pledge. Ideas included:
  1. Less pledges featured on the website by WFL staff
  2. Have the pledges that are more minor, or easier to do, featured at the top
  3. Have a photo booth at all face to face events and pledge cards so individuals and others can make a pledge and have their photo taken.

These are brilliant suggestions, all of which we are going to adopt.

  • 18:15 – Member Updates
  1. Leeds Aerial Arts have a new venue, and are going to be doing low cost women’s self-defence classes. They have identified an instructor, and it will be a semi regular event. They are also looking at funding so that women can attend for free.
  2. Bramley Community Clothing Exchange will be starting back up on 7th August
  3. Laurie Wood is setting up women’s walking groups after work or in your lunch hour, so women feel safer in the city centre or down by the canal and can make new friends.

Women Friendly Leeds would like to promote all these fantastic opportunities on social media, through the Women Friendly Leeds calendar on the website, and on their weekly bulletins

Thank you to all the Ambassadors who came to the 3rd Ambassador Network meeting. The next meeting will be Thurs 2nd September from 5:15, until 6:30pm, and you can sign up via Eventbrite. Emily will email details to Ambassadors nearer the time

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