Women are Bold for Change in Scotland

March 2, 2017

Wednesday 8th of March is International Women's Day. It is THE day to celebrate achievements of women and help drive positive change. Not that any other days isn’t great too! This year, the theme is Be Bold for Change.

Akiko with workman measuring doorway (2)

57% of the social entrepreneurs that we support are women. So we love shouting about their achievements! And these women are certainly bold for change.

Here are 9 women (and one man!) who are working hard to change women’s lives in Scotland.

Helping women who have suffered from trauma
Ashley Scotland runs Thriving Survivors, a social enterprise that supports survivors of trauma. This can include trauma such as sexual and domestic abuse, amongst other types of trauma. She runs a 12-week empowerment and employability programme. It is for men and women but Thriving Survivors has primarily helped women so far. The social enterprise also wants to provide trauma training packages to local and national agencies and governments.

Boosting confidence and creativity
This is what Fiona McNeil does with Gilded Lily CIC. She runs programmes to explore, start-up and succeed in enterprise, social enterprise or employment. Gilded Lily’s workshops are particularly aimed at women who need a confidence boost to realise their potential.

Gilded Lily also creates and sells products including soaps and bath bombs that smell amazing. The proceeds from these sales go directly into the organisation to ensure it is sustainable.

Fiona won the Herald Society’s ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award in 2014.

Empowering ethnic minority women
Angela Ireland runs MILK. MILK is a cafe that provides a safe, supportive environment where ethnic minority women in the Glasgow community receive employability support. MILK is the first project of social enterprise The TinCat.

MILK offer individuals opportunities to gain appropriate skills, experience and confidence. While gaining work experience both within the cafe and in its related activities, individuals receive support to prepare for moving on to other opportunities.

Support includes help with English language, personal development, form filling and interview skills. The cafe trading environment offers experience in sales and marketing, customer service, stock control, health and safety, hospitality, administration, bookkeeping and IT.

Teaching women about nutrition
Sarah Ellis-Martin is starting a nutrition consultancy social enterprise. She is trained as a Public Health Nutritionist. She will concentrate on helping mums and babies as she specialises in Maternal and Infant Nutrition and what she cleverly calls “Bump, Baby and Beyond”. She will also give advice on health, wellbeing, weight management, nutrition analysis, recipe meal planning, cooking skills and training. Sarah is starting to pilot her idea after receiving a Start It award in September 2016.

Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @sarahellismartin for nutrition tips and speedy recipe videos.

Empowering through food
Marysia Mikicka is one of the women behind Soul Food Sisters. They are a group of migrant women based in Govanhill, one of the most diverse communities in Glasgow. Together, they create a vibrant, female-led collective based around their favourite thing: food. They help end social isolation and empower women to develop their talents- in the kitchen and beyond. They offer catering for events and businesses in Glasgow (and we can vouch for them, their food is super tasty!).

Fighting for equality 
Alexa Anderson created Equal Scotland to tackle inequalities. She works hard to bridge gaps in the provision of Equal Rights in Scotland. Equal Scotland holds events, provides training, undertakes research and represents an informed voice of equal rights for all.

Reducing health inequalities
Nahla Awad is creating social enterprise Health 4 You CIC to help black and ethnic minority women in Edinburgh to overcome health inequalities. The project will provide physical activity classes, local food growing farm and social activities to enhance social integration and better health. Nahla has a strong passion for social justice. She believes that community led projects can achieve good social impact and better accessibility for members of the community.

Making dance accessible to all
Cat Perry runs Dance Division, a dance company whose purpose is to make dance and fitness activities accessible to all of Scotland. It offers a variety of services to children, young people and adults. It runs a particular focus on an outreach programme for deprived communities. Cat is making dance, a sport sometimes portrayed as exclusive, accessible for everyone. This includes hundreds of young girls and women.

Empowering vulnerable women
Sylvia Douglas runs MsMissMrs in Glasgow. Her social enterprise empowers vulnerable women through delivering workshops on self-care and improving confidence and self-esteem. MsMissMrs has recently opened its Empowerment Hub in Glasgow. The Hub offers health and wellbeing programmes, classes and get-togethers, teaching skills and techniques. These all help women to tackle the changes they have identified head-on. Sylvia also sells Empowerment Pants and re-invests the profits made into the other activities.

Helping women be self-reliant
Noel Mathias is managing director of WEvolution. It is a movement of people from disadvantaged backgrounds. They all have aspirations for a better life for themselves, their families and communities. WEvolution runs a unique project in the UK called Self-Reliant Groups (SRGs). SRGs are small groups of 5 to 10 women. They develop strong bonds of trust and friendship, save small amounts of money together, learn skills and support each other to create income-generating opportunities for themselves.

Do you know someone who works hard to help women? Make sure you celebrate them on 8th March using the hashtag #BeBoldForChange! Tag @firstport in your post so we can share and spread the word.

Make sure you celebrate all the women AND men who are Bold for Change. And don’t forget to celebrate yourself too!