INSPIRATIONAL women from across Oldham came together on Friday for the first meeting of a new taskforce headed by Council Leader Arooj Shah.
The new group, which includes women from a wide range of backgrounds representing organisations across the borough, aims to address underlying disadvantages faced by women and promote greater equality.
Following their first meeting, the Oldham women’s taskforce will now draw up a plan for delivering a series of projects that make a real difference to women and their families.
Cllr Shah said: “Huge thanks go to these brilliant women who gave up their time to come along to the first meeting of our new women’s taskforce.
“I was so impressed with the energy, passion and motivation in the room and am confident that this group will make a real difference in addressing issues of inequality, which sadly still exist here in the borough today.
“These talented and dedicated women care passionately, as I do, about our town and our communities. A lot of fantastic ideas came out of our initial discussions and I’m really looking forward to seeing the work get underway.”
Issues discussed at the first meeting included the inequalities that persist in areas such as democratic engagement; health; pay and opportunity; finances; education; parenting and caregiving; violence and crime.
Youth worker Chloe Lord, one of the women invited to attend the session, said: “It felt a bit daunting at first; I was a bit starstruck because there were all these women from different walks of life, who’ve done so much, and I felt like I shouldn’t be there
“But then when we got to the group work there was so much we could all contribute as we were all from different backgrounds and we all had different experiences to share.
“I’m hoping this will be a great way to bring forward projects that benefit women in Oldham. Every single woman in that room was equally passionate about bringing forward their ideas and I know we all have a lot to give.”
Rose Ssali, CEO of Support and Action for Women Network (SAWN), said: “Meeting with Arooj Shah and other passionate women in Oldham, having an honest discussion about the issues affecting us as women in Oldham, was brilliant.
“And it being my first physical meeting since the start of the lockdown it gave me hope that women will be part of the Oldham Covid-19 recovery agenda.”
Laura Windsor-Welsh, strategic lead at Action Together, said: “I’m delighted to be a member of the Oldham Women’s Taskforce. Unfortunately it’s still the case that women experience inequalities in many areas of their lives.
“It was both refreshing and inspiring to be with others who want to commit their time and energy to reduce the inequalities that women in Oldham face. I look forward to doing my bit alongside this impassioned group of women.”
The date for the next meeting will be confirmed soon.