Women are a hard demographic of learners to access for a reason, because they have very little free time to do anything for themselves and gaining access to mainstream Education & Training has never been easy for women. There have always been massive barriers for women to overcome such as no childcare provision, no financial support and benefit deductions.
These barriers left Women stuck at home feeling isolated, frustrated and at times unworthy. The community & voluntary sector saw this and decided that every woman has a right to learn. They fundraised, they formed partnerships with local colleges, they engaged with councils and they started providing FREE accredited courses and training with FREE onsite childcare.
This structure transformed women’s lives, being able to learn new skills, engage with other people gain qualifications had given them a new outlook and their confidence soared. All it took to see women succeed is a building, a safe space, a creche and a tutor.
A woman given the right opportunities will only enrich and multiply what has been provided to her. These women went on to gain employment, some went on to further education, some even went on to university degrees. No matter what the outcome these women would never have had these opportunities without the Community & Voluntary sectors support.
In the words of malala yousafzai: “we cannot all succeed when half of us are held back”.
By Rayna Downey, Women’s Centre Derry