New campaign to make Leeds a ‘woman-friendly city’

CAMPAIGN: Kate Bratt Farrar and Jeanette Morris Boam of Women's Lives Leeds with forum attendees.
CAMPAIGN: Kate Bratt Farrar and Jeanette Morris Boam of Women's Lives Leeds with forum attendees.
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A new campaign is set to be launched to make Leeds a woman-friendly city.

The idea was born at a major summit yesterday, where representatives from a citywide range of support services debated ways to improve women’s health and wellbeing.

The Women’s Lives Leeds conference spotlighted what Leeds does well and where there are gaps in services.

The day’s finding will now be collated, and it is hoped they could eventually be used as the basis for an official Woman Friendly Leeds campaign, similar to the successful Child Friendly Leeds initiative.

Jeanette Morris Boam, project manager of the Women’s Lives Leeds consortium, who chaired yesterday’s summit, said: “This is a forum which allows women and girls to have a voice and to influence strategic decision making across the city.

“More and more service providers are starting to recognise that a more gendered approach is needed to services rather than ‘everybody is the same’.”

She said the event had started “a long journey of conversations” which will - as its first key job - produce a report on improving women’s health citywide. It follows a similar report on men’s health produced by Leeds Beckett University.

Yesterday’s forum agreed several overall priorities for future campaigning and lobbying, including employment, safety and tackling violence against women, health and poverty.

Among the attendees was Marvina Newton, chief executive of the Angel of Youths project, who said:”For me, it’s quite innovative to be in a room with women looking at betterment of other women. And to have so many professionals who wwant to make a Leeds a woman-friendly city is just so empowering.”

Women’s Lives Leeds is a consortium of 12 women and girls’ organisations from across Leeds. Between them they support thousands of often vulnerable women, and have specialisms in domestic violence, mental health, sexual health, sex work, trafficking, child sexual exploitation and education.