Coventry Women Speak Up at She Speaks Event

Video of the event. Credit: Phoebe Lewin and Henry Fox.

12 March 2022 — Brightly-coloured clothing, handmade soaps, intricate cakes and inspiring guest speakers fill a humble events hall above the Coventry Transport Museum. She Speaks is an ongoing series of events set out to highlight female creativity and entrepreneurship especially from local women of colour.

The two-day event coincided with International Women’s Day. According to Coventry City of Culture She Speaks will “inspire and empower women to tune out the fear and insecurities of life that has been telling them for so long that they cannot speak up and speak out”.

She Speaks is sponsored by This Is Africa, and is part of the City of Culture. As we entered, we saw a flood of female entrepreneurs setting up shop, ranging from teenagers to the elderly. Many were accompanied by their children. The organisers set up a dedicated childcare room with snacks and activities for the youngsters, noting that a lot of mums struggle to find childcare when they attend similar events.

The event began with a market followed up by a number of talks and performances by successful women, such as Councillor Dr Kindy Sandhu, who recounted her journey into local politics. Hawwa Hussein, Coventry’s Young Poet Laureate also did a poetry reading for the enamoured crowd.

Organiser Shabana Sarguro says: “The world will not exist without us [women].

“Women should understand that there is something that they need to respect themselves first, love themselves first, because if they don’t respect and love themselves, the world will not do that. So respect yourself, love yourself, and then take care of others”.

Priya Gondalia, a TEDx speaker and personal development coach, led the conversation giving advice to young women on how to be confident in themselves, a key pillar to success. Talking ahead of the event, Priya said: “It’s an opportunity for us to drop all the different roles and expectations that are placed on us from society from people in our lives. And just come and have fun”.

Fun was all around with music and dance, shopping, and boardgames during lulls of speeches. Guests sat around tables poring over games of snakes and ladders while popular music could be heard in the background. A surprise pampering session awaited those working hard at their stalls.

Beatrice “QueenBea” Christopher is a mindset coach who helps women and young people going through different and difficult stages of their lives, with journeys of self-discovery and finding your purpose.

She said: “It’s been so inspiring. I’ve come here to give a little of what I know as well by speaking to us women, inspiring the women motivating the women. It’s been amazing we should do this often”.

As we looked back on International Women’s Day and these examples of female entrepreneurship, it shows that the future of women is in capable hands.

“We cannot celebrate women enough”, added Beatrice.

Originally published at http://henryfoxportfolio.wordpress.com on April 13, 2022.

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