Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Women of the World (#WOWCAM) / #FemaleVoicesNow

A few months back I was invited to take part in a series of talks for the Women of  the World (#WOWCAM) project in Cambridge, which really was such an honour to be invited to do.
WOW, founded by Jude Kelly (Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London), is a festival of comedy, debates, film, music, talks and conversations celebrating the talents of girls and women from all walks of life, from all parts of the world. It also addresses the obstacles that exist and prevent women from realising their potential and features inspiring stories from women who are "breaking the mould" in the arts, education, sport, fashion and even within family life.
Women of the World #WOWCAM
The events are being hosted throughout London and now in Cambridge (#FemaleVoicesNow) throughout March 2015 to bring young girls and women together in a safe space to enjoy conversation and ideas.
Hosted by Ruthie Collins at the Cambridge Art Salon & Romsey Mill, WOW Cambridge had lined up local female guest speakers to talk about their lives throughout March and the build up to this festival.
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I'm not personally one for publicly voicing my views on feminism as a topic, however I was asked to speak about my experiences as a new business owner and pass on my wisdom to the young girls interviewing me. This, I was sure I could do and I really enjoyed the entire process. It started with a questionnaire about myself and I'm going to share this with you here on the blog, should you be interested to read more:
My Personal Information
  • First and last name, Jo Christy AKA Miss Sue Flay
  • Date of birth,         9th April ; )
  • City of residence, Cambridge
Education information
  • Education background A Levels, left Sixth Form to work full time after AS
  • Employment History: First job in a dolls house shop for £2.50 an hour & a horse riding school for free lessons! Current job, self employed under "Miss Sue Flay" & "Stir Up Media"
Personal Preferences  
  • Things that I am really good at, listening, networking, teaching
  • Things I really enjoy, getting people together, socialising, travel, good food
  • Hobbies, I adore films (cinema), traveling, visiting spas & relaxing with a book
  • Food, I adore afternoon tea, but love most food. I'm with a personal trainer atm and have lost 3 stone in weight this year… with a bit more to go! My work revolves around food a lot of the time, so I try amazing dishes, I'm very lucky!
  • Music, I'm a rock & Indie girl (Garbage, No Doubt, Placebo, ACDC) – I love all music and go to many festivals and live gigs when I can.
  • Ideal house and income, I am dreaming of travel recently, I currently rent and I don't want to buy just yet. I want to live out of a suitcase and see some of the world before I settle down. When I do settle, a country cottage & early retirement would be perfect!
  • Three things I really don't like about: 1) Life – It's too short (& expensive!) & there's so much to see and do.                           2) Work – when it's mundane it's never pleasing. Now I'm self employed I love my work… the accounting, not so much!     3) Myself – I'm too hard on myself. I am never happy with my achievements and always want to better myself. This can be good and bad, sometimes I need to reflect and be kinder to myself!
What are the current challenges facing women today? Solutions? Who should be taking responsibility for addressing these?  I recently watched an advert on the TV where the producer asked the models in front of the camera to "throw like a girl"… it's an interesting feature… adults were all throwing balls feebly and running with their arms and legs flailing pathetically and this is the image society seems to have set for women. However, when asking older kids to do the same things, they were much stronger and passionate, even athletic in their actions and it was a powerful view of female behavior. More women than ever before are creating their own businesses and successful career paths and they are proving that women can do just as well, if not better than men when it comes to this. It's inspiring to meet so many female business owners myself locally (and nationally) and to discuss their plans and pitfalls. Not once have I ever heard a woman say to me that she's been laughed at or mocked for her business idea… And it should stay this way, shouldn't it?... Marie Forleo once said that she was laughed at by a businessman at a conference when she responded to a question about what she did. She helped female entrepreneurs to get ahead in business and he laughed her down and mocked that she was "playing" business with her husband's money behind her. This spurred her to make $millions and she recently created a video to thank whoever he was for his sexism in business, as it motivated her to do well. It is our own responsibility to respect and support those around us. An opinion such as his above could make or break somebody, words are so dangerous, no matter how lightly they may seem.

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Women of the World #WOWCAM
Feminist and inspirational posters have gone up all over Cambridge, as part of Cambridge WOW, featuring quotes from women in the city interviewed for Female Voices. The posters are designed by local creatives; Sensibly Insane and Rebecca Scambler. The quotes were selected, with help, from the group of girls who interviewed the panel at Romsey Mill. The posters are all over the city – from cafes such as Clowns and Urban Shed, to shops such as Jemporium, Cambridge Resale, Romsey Mill charity shop, or in public space near the Guildhall, to Cambridge Regional College, to youth and community centres such as Brownsfield and Romsey Mill.
If you spot one of these posters around town, then please share it through social media using the hashtag #FemaleVoicesNow to share this inspiring project.
I'm thrilled with my portrait as "Miss Sue Flay" and even spotted it at a local bloggers event I went to recently, it's a well-supported project and one I've enjoyed being a part of.
Women of the World #WOWCAM
The Women of Influence programme is running throughout March and there will be a book launch for this project at Waterstones in Cambridge on Thursday 19th March from 6pm - 7:30pm (email Ruthie@cambridgeartsalon.org.uk for more info or to book a place at the event). Here the fantastic images, quotes and stories will be unveiled from everybody who has taken part, it's going to be a fantastic celebration and I urge you to join.
To find out more about this festival, visit www.wowcambridge.cam.ac.uk
And a huge thank you to Ruthie for asking me to talk as part of this festival!
MSF Miss Sue Flay logo Green Brush


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