women campaign group pic

A campaign group dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of local women met at Crewe Hall to reaffirm its aims and drive forward change.

Cheshire Women’s Collaboration (CWC) drew leading influencers including businesswomen, health professionals, university academics and charity organisations to its annual conference.

High on the agenda was eliminating period poverty in Cheshire, creating safe outdoor spaces for girls and tackling workplace inequality particularly for women going through the menopause.

CWC chair Kate Blakemore, founder of Wistaston-based charity Motherwell Cheshire, spoke about the difficulties facing women and girls trying to afford period products and the lack of basic understanding around their needs at the time of the month.

She said: “It’s incredible in this day and age that women and girls still have to feel embarrassed about being on their periods and throughout their lives spend thousands of pounds on costly sanitary products.

“A partnership collaboration between Period Power, Motherwell Cheshire, Weaver Valley Rotary, Changing Lives Together and Cheshire West Inspirers is working together to eliminate Period Poverty in Cheshire.”

Moneysaving expert Martin Lewis recently highlighted the high cost of products marketed towards women in pink packaging including painkillers which they often need round their periods.

CWC is working with Cheshire West Community Inspirers on a campaign to end ‘Pink Tax’ which hikes the price of toiletries and medicines used by women.

Kate, a mother two boys and a girl, added: “In a national study of 1000 girls over half were embarrassed by their period and stayed off school and more than 137,000 missed school because they couldn’t afford sanitary products. CWC is calling for donations of these products direct to Motherwell or local Foodbanks.”

Make Space for Girls, a national charity led by former lawyer Imogen Clark from Frodsham, highlighted the need for town planners to think beyond skate parks and BMX tracks for teens.

The facilities, she said, were dominated by boys and illustrated how Sweden and Denmark were leading the way with open spaces for girls with swings and well-lit sheltered seating areas.

The need for better provision was supported by national statistics around safety.

One in five young women had been ‘flashed’ at and the vast majority of those surveyed felt scared in parks and on public transport.

In 2022 catcalling was still rife and harassment an everyday event.

Women in Sport researcher Dr Emily Lovett from Edge Hill University highlighted the risks of inactivity often due to fear of using public spaces or lack of toilet facilities.

CWC is working with Make Space for Girls and the London School of Economics on a research project, “Are Girls Being Designed out of Public Spaces”, and volunteers are monitoring under-use of skate parks and BMX facilities by girls to strength their case for reform.

Meanwhile, it has forged links with Manchester Art Gallery where a special project, “Uncertain Futures”, is investigating inequalities facing women over 50 relating to work and worklessness.

The findings will be used to influence change in Cheshire.

The meeting also heard from British Menopause-accredited specialist Dr Jane Wilkinson, based at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, who spoke about the often long-lasting symptoms, HRT prescription costs, topical treatments and lifestyle factors that can help the transition.

CWC is lobbying for menopause specialists to be made available in every Cheshire surgery and for social prescribers and GPs to offer more holistic support.

Women can back its efforts by joining the Menopause Cafe movement across Cheshire and following on Facebook.

The conference was updated on CWC’s ‘Statue for Ada’ campaign which aims to create a lasting tribute to Ada Nield Chew, the 19th century Crewe factory girl who fought for better pay and conditions for women.

Sculptress, Hazel Reeves, behind works commemorating other notable female figures in history, said it would ignite pride in Crewe and bring the community together for an unveiling.

To support its various initiatives or join the Cheshire Women’s Collaboration sub committees email [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website, to learn more please read our privacy policy.


Captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.