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13 March 2020

Events round up: International Women’s Day 2020

8 March 2020 marked International Women’s Day 2020 which we celebrated with events in our London and Reading offices.

On 9 March, we held an evening event in our London office led by Anne Wafula Strike MBE, mother, Paralympian, charity champion, author and motivational speaker.

Anne took us through her journey from contracting Polio at two years old and being driven out of her village in Kenya, to becoming an active campaigner who is constantly challenging misconceptions about disability. Anne also briefly touched upon her journey to become an Olympic athlete.

This was a very insightful and empowering talk that left us with the following key points:

  • never give up, as this is the time and place the tide will turn;
  • persistence is determination; and
  • being disabled is not a tragedy; how our society treats disabled people, that’s the tragedy!

Anne frequently lobbies Parliament, and in 2018 she and Lorna Fillingham presented the Changing Places Toilets petition to 10 Downing Street. A key ask was for the government to make it mandatory for new public buildings to include Changing Places toilets. In Wednesday’s Budget it was revealed that £30 million will be provided for these facilities and a change in building regulations guidance by the end of the year to mandate the provision of Changing Places toilets in new public buildings.

To find out more about Anne you can visit her website here or read her book, In My Dreams I Dance.

On 11 March, we were joined by Marzana Rahman at our Reading office, who is a writer, speaker and domestic violence activist.

Marzana relayed her story from being molested at the age of 12, having an arranged marriage at 18 and divorcing ten days later, re-marrying and becoming a domestic violence survivor, all whilst battling the stigma and norms of the Bangladeshi community. Marzana has gone on to become a successful business woman and social influencer, and has achieved her lifetime goal of climbing Mount Everest.

This was an emotive and captivating talk which gave us the following key lessons:

  • you can turn your life around; it is not easy but it will be worth it. You will need a little courage, self-belief and some hope;
  • give people hope, encourage and build up others because it has a ripple effect; and
  • in order to be our best selves and develop, we must read our lives like a book and evaluate our weaknesses.

To find out more about Marzana’s story, please visit her website here.

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