Two hundred women from across the North West descended on Preston this March in a fun and feisty celebration of the diversity, grit and power of the region’s females.
WomanKind North offered up empowerment, inspiration and education via speaker panels, workshops, inspirational story tellers and sets from an award-winning comedy actor.
Speaking about the day, journalist and host of the event’s Inspo Stage, L’Oreal Blackett, said: “It's often hard to feel uplifted in this era of social media and comparison, but at Womankind North women of all walks of life gave not only myself but everyone else around them so much encouragement and a sense of pride. I was so taken aback by how sincere every single guest speaker was. Their stories were both powerful and inspirational.”
Founded by entrepreneurs Helen Kerray and Morgana Loze-Doyle to give women in the region a platform to celebrate their success, strength in adversity and Northern power, WomanKind North was the first festival of it’s kind to be hosted in the region. With a portion of every ticket sale going straight to Lancashire Women, the sell-out event raised donations for the charity, as well as raising awareness of the important role that it plays in helping women in the region access vital support services.
Amanda Greenwood, CEO of Lancashire Women, said: "Womankind North was such a fantastic opportunity for women of all walks of life to come together. We need to do this more. It's clear positive steps have been taken but the landscape needs to change and that's why I found it so important to take my place and share factual evidence of the adversity and power imbalance that women are still greeted with. We need to have healthy conversations and open up about the identities we are perhaps not so comfortable with. It is so easy to have faceless conversations, technology at our fingertips can be used in a much more powerful way, securing personal connections and change that's achievable."
Bringing fun and laughter to the afternoon session of the festival was Ali Kahn, an award-winning comic writer and actor who believes that there is power in laughing whilst learning about ourselves and the world we live in. Ali performed two lively sets during the afternoon session.
WomanKind North attendee Lynne Lisett, 62 from Leyland said: "It was my daughter's idea to attend. We were going to go to the theatre together, but she saw this and thought it was a great way of spending the day together as part of an important celebration for women. I'm of an age where I have achieved so much both career-wise and personally too but I whole-heartedly agree that feminism has changed. It's become forward-thinking, less of an ideology and has nothing to do with being men-haters. It should be celebrated just like it has been today so that the next generation can feel free and have no barriers."
Daughter of Lynne, Nicky Taylor, 32 said: "Ladies together in one space discussing their journeys and helping people find their inner power, what's not to love about that? I'm so glad I attended today, it's a festival of knowledge, fun, inspiring stories and lots to take away."
Attendee, Amy Cheadle, said: “International Women’s Day can be a bit of a mixed bag. Where it should be a vehicle to dissect and address the reasons women still experience inequality in literally every country of the world and the layers of privilege experienced by some over others (and most importantly, what actions we should be taking to address the balance, it can so often be tokenisation and performative. Not so in this corner of the world, where I am incredibly proud of Morgana and Helen who put on WomanKind North. Gender, race, sexuality, pleasure, domestic violence, activism, body image, acceptance, empowerment, inspiration, creativity, cocktails and comedy all managed to co-exist in an atmosphere of solidarity and deep respect.”
Morgana Loze-Doyle, WomanKind North co-founder, said: “Both Helen and I were overwhelmed with the energy, positivity and connectivity that was created at WomanKind North. The whole day truly surpassed our expectations and it really goes to show what can be achieved when a large group of diverse women come together to celebrate each other’s successes, share inspirational stories, inspire and uplift each other.
“The energy in the room was vibrant and electric from start to finish. It felt like such an apt celebration of International Women’s Day weekend - championing the truly remarkable women in the region and providing a platform for females to come together to learn from and celebrate each other.
“This is the first time an event of this kind, on this scale, has been held in Lancashire and we are proud to have put the region on the map this International Women’s Day. And this is just the beginning from WomanKind North … watch this space for future events coming soon - we are busy planning a series of pop ups with the WomanKind North ethos at their heart.
“We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported us on our journey to bringing WomanKind North to life, as well as everyone who came along on the day - we couldn’t have done it without you.”
"It's often hard to feel uplifted in this era of social media and comparison, but at Womankind North women of all walks of life gave not only myself but everyone else around them so much encouragem"