Bristol Woman is a local blog highlighting the lives of ordinary women with extraordinary lives, thus raising debates on everyday sexism and discrimination, domestic abuse, mental health and well-being, and parenting. The blog started as a magazine, and the launch issue of the magazine can be downloaded here: Bristol Woman Magazine
The blog focuses on women’s issues in Bristol and will provide an opportunity for women across the city to discuss parenting issues, health and well-being concerns, safety and violence, sexism, discrimination and empowerment alongside a wealth of other key issues vital to women in the Bristol community. We want to keep the blog free of charge, so that it can reach the women who need it, and help balance under-represented views within Bristol.
As a lot of the funding for women services is diminishing and focusing on most in need, very little is available for prevention work. Yet our research shows that for every £1 spend on women with low to medium mental health needs or risk of domestic violence, we save £3 that would be later spent on shelters for domestic abuse survivors, homelessness and mental health. The blog provides a great avenue to address many issues by unpicking the extraordinary lives of ordinary women – women that help shape Bristol.
In order for the blog to be free, we are looking for funders who can help sponsor the magazine. Rather than traditional advertising or direct sponsorship, we are proposing to collaborate with local businesses, trusts and foundations, charities and across all sectors to write and publish articles which will focus on particular key issues for women and showcase local female talent. We need your help to do so.
The blog improves livelihoods and the local community!
Commenting on the launch of Bristol Woman, Dr Cezara Nanu said : “We want the magazine to become a vital local resource for women’s perspectives and a trigger for women’s engagement on these issues across the city. This is our chance to balance women’s under-represented views and perspectives and an opportunity for women to gather strength from the views of others and from telling their own stories”.
Women are underrepresented in decision making and leadership roles. For example, women make up 50% of the population of Bristol, but only 24% of the councillors are women, private businesses and public boards average 24% women on Boards. We see a constant squeeze of funding for women only spaces, women suffer from low self-esteem, and even women in high level positions systematically underestimate their abilities. In Bristol, the Public Health team estimates over 40,000 women experience violence and abuse of some kind (1/3 of the crime in Bristol is domestic violence, of which 85% is violence against women by men).
Overwhelming numbers of women have told us that women’s magazines, as a platform for women to talk about their issues are disempowering – the topics are often patronising and diminish a woman’s life to her accessories or shoes. Women’s bodies in mass media are not in line with our real bodies, creating serious issues for our physical and mental health, there is too much advertisement for health and beauty aimed at women with large disposable incomes; there are not enough stories about “real women”, “ordinary, everyday women”, “women next door”; and they seem to revel in women’s mistakes.
Our local research showed that Bristol women want to see more:
- Local news, events and gigs (including sport, stories, community and crime) – 93%
- Information about local opportunities, and inspirational local success stories – 74%
- Politics and current affairs, the way national policies will impact local services – 68%
- True life stories of other women – 61%
Bristol Woman is written by the women of Bristol, for the women of Bristol. In the first week following our launch, we have had 1500 copies of our magazine downloaded from our website. Amidst all the budget cuts over the next few years, where services that support many women are being cut or shelved, Bristol Woman can be a resource that provides support to the women in our communities, a listening ear to those who need someone to talk to, a source of prevention that can encourage women to discuss problems and barriers that they face in everyday life, and will help change Bristol into becoming a woman-friendly city, in-keeping with The European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life that Mayor George Ferguson signed this year.