Let’s start with the basics of Women Aloud – the what, who and why…
What: Women Aloud is a group for women. Simple hey! We meet up. We talk – in person or online. We share our experiences (from the life-changing to the everyday). We listen to each other. We offer advice and empathy. We don’t judge or disrespect the choices or opinions of others. We meet women with similar interests and make useful connections. We learn from each other and find support when we need it. We laugh and sometimes we might just let it all out with a cry. In short, we’re just real women having a conversation; building a community; making new friends.
Who: The women in the group are mainly in their 30s and 40s but we have some who are younger and some who are older – all women, whatever your age, are welcome to get involved. We all have different careers, interests and opinions. But, what we have in common is that we’re real women living the highs and lows of real life.
Why: The group was set up by me, Laura, a few years ago when a lot of my female friends were in a different phase of life and were moving out of London. I decided I wanted to meet more people, make new friends, be part of a supportive group of women. Nothing against men but I was in a place where I was looking for female conversation and a sense of community that was women-only. Dating for friends seemed a bit intense so I started Women Aloud London, a small group of women who would meet for book clubs and nights out. Numbers grew and many of those members who came in the first few months are still people I see today. Then after a few years, I was the one doing the ‘marriage, baby and a move out of London’ thing. Being new to an area and not wanting to totally lose the person I was before motherhood, I set up another Women Aloud group in my new hometown of St Albans. Once again I’ve met a great group of women. But now, 18months after starting this second group, I feel that there’s potential for Women Aloud to grow – and it would be great to have you involved!
So, where next?
Myself and Women Aloud are embarking on something of a journey. For myself personally my new journey is because in complete contradiction to the plan I didn’t return to corporate life after having my baby. This has led to a few sleepless nights (of my own doing not because of said baby); some pretty raw self-reflection…plus a lot of conversations about what to do next. And it’s been these conversations that have made me appreciate the power of women and our words. I realised that I can learn something from every woman I talk to. And that’s the reason why I’d like to take Women Aloud on a journey too.
I believe that our words, our life experiences, the conversations we have – they are what connect us. Whether you speak it aloud or write it, I think we all have something to say. Women are fountains of knowledge. We are the powerhouse behind word of mouth. So, going forward (and without sounding too cheesy!) I’d like Women Aloud to encourage women to be ‘aloud’ – to be honest – to share their feelings, their experiences, their aspirations. To use their words to build friendships, to make connections, to learn from each other. To inspire and support. To talk about the big and the small stuff. To cut out the bullsh*t and the pretence of the social media ‘me and my life are wonderful all the time’ posts. To create a safe place to have your say, without fear of all that women judging women malarky. (And if you’re more of a listener than a talker, that’s more than ok, we want you to join us too!)
Our regular events (book club, socials, mingling mum’s club etc.) will continue and I plan to add more to the events calendar over coming months. ‘Talking’ in the online world is going to be a big part of what we do. It’s cheating a little in the literal sense of ‘aloud’ but this new website is one of the ways that members of the group can talk ‘out loud’ for all to hear. It’s still in the very early launch stage but over time I hope the site will grow to be somewhere you come to for a quick visit. I say quick as I’d rather you were out there living life but popping back here briefly to see what’s new…to read something interesting, to join in a discussion, to connect with other members, to be part of our online community so that even if you can’t make it to an event in person you don’t miss out on what your fellow women have to say.
Interested? Here’s how to get involved with Women Aloud…
First step – become a member and then it’s up to you how little or how much you want to get involved. Once you’re a member you can…
- Come to our events – at the moment most of these will be held in St Albans and occasionally London. But, everyone is welcome to join our online community and if there’s potential for other locations we’ll let you know. If you’ve got something you can speak about at one of our events or if you’ve got an event you think our members might be interested in, please get in touch
- Connect online with people you’d like to have a conversation with
- Ask your questions or share your knowledge in our forum
- Send us your blog posts or videos – we want to fill this site with your voices
- Give us your reviews and recommendations – we love a bit of word-of-mouth
- Share your story (anonymously if you prefer) – let’s hear your honest, heart-felt (good and bad) life experiences
- Tell us if you’re a woman in business – it would be great to support local women doing their own thing, to hear about your business journey and see if we can work together
- Join us on Facebook and Twitter for some quick fixes of inspiration or something we’re sharing from someone else.
A final word…
I’d love to welcome new members and see where the Women Aloud journey takes us. I’m always keen to hear your feedback and if you’ve got something to share on the site or any great ideas, please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org