International Women's Day - Why we believe it is more relevant than ever

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Inspire inclusion’ and never has that been more relevant, which is why we are using today as a platform to reaffirm our commitment to making Wiltshire and Swindon a fairer, more equitable and safer place for women and girls.

We launched our Women and Girls Fund last year to support projects in our county that challenge the inequality, abuse and discrimination experienced by women and girls, amplify their voice to advocate for change and allow them to thrive and fulfil their potential.

We did it because despite the relative safety and comfort we enjoy in Wiltshire and Swindon, the reality for many women and girls is that they still endure harassment, gender-based violence, discrimination and stereotyping.

Although there are a range of wonderful groups working at grassroots level to counter many of these issues, they themselves face daily funding challenges. It is a sad truth that women and girls’ groups receive less than 2 per cent of the UK’s total charitable giving – leaving too few avenues of support for those who need it.

We were proud to share the aims of our Women and Girls Fund at a well-attended afternoon tea last week at Bowood House in partnership with Lady Lansdowne and Wansbroughs. Lady Lansdowne, Wiltshire Chief Constable Catherine Roper, Hettie Barkworth-Nanton and representatives of groups and charities working with women all spoke eloquently about the challenges they face. Read more about the event here.

Our Joint Chief Executive Fiona Oliver also spoke at the event. She is firm in her belief that the fund can be a catalyst for change, just like International Women’s Day itself. “Today is not just a day of celebration but a rallying cry for a more inclusive, equitable, and just world for women and girls.

“We know that it is an aim shared by all of the fantastic groups in Wiltshire and Swindon who are working incredibly hard to offer a safe haven, vital help and advice, mentoring and friendship, skills and opportunities and, most importantly, a platform so women's voices can be heard.

“That is why we are committed to building our Women and Girls Fund to provide a source of funding for women and girls' projects in our county for the long-term. We are asking people to join us and support the fund so that we can enable more women and girls to thrive and not just survive.”

Read on for a closer look at two of the groups we have funded in Wiltshire and Swindon to find out why their help and support is so vital – and why it is essential we keep funding this work.

Swindon Sisters Alliance            Folio Theatre

Read more about the Women and Girls Fund and how you can support it here.

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