Stories highlight resilience to mark International Women’s Day

Date 21.03.2018

Courage, confidence and citizenship form chapters in a new book, compiled to mark International Women’s Day, that was celebrated on Thursday 8 March.

The book is jointly published by Northampton Borough Council and the University of Northampton’s Changemaker* team.

The 18 stories, including those of University of Northampton students, highlights stories of women’s resilience to various difficult or challenging personal circumstances.

The recollections include how women have dealt with physical ailments, how one woman got over her brother’s suicide and how early retirement helped one reconnect with her spiritual side.

The idea for the book came about during discussions with Social and Community Development students as part of their ‘Community Involvement’ module.

Following visits from Councillor Anna King, who spoke about her role as Northampton Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Safety, the local authority organised a public search for local women’s stories of resilience, using their Women’s Community Forum.

A judging panel that included Victoria Boulton, Lecturer in Health and Social Care at the University of Northampton, then chose those stories that would be published in the final book.

The panel also included Councillor King, Sarah Passam from Voluntary Impact Northampton and Elinor Cross from BBC Northampton.

Victoria said: “Its 100 years this year since women were first given the right to vote, something that seems an alien concept for most of us in the modern age.

“The stories in our book of resilience help us reflect on and celebrate the smaller but still important achievements women make on a day to day basis.”

Councillor Anna King of Northampton Borough Council, added: “I’ve been so impressed by the Social and Community Development course and really wanted to build on our relationship. It’s amazing what can be achieved from an initial classroom discussion.

“Stories of Resilience is not just a book of stories, it’s a book of real life and expresses challenges faced and overcome.”

The University’s Changemaker team supported the book project as part of their own work to more actively engage with the local authority’s community forums for disability, Youth, Pensioners, Diverse Communities, Women and the LGBTQ Forum.

The book project has generated closer working ties between the council and university, including promoting volunteering opportunities to students and organising visits to the University and Guildhall for students from the Netherlands.

The book can be bought online either at Waterstones or the Book Depository.

*Changemaker is a University of Northampton-wide initiative which focuses on staff and students finding solutions to environmental or social problems to improve people’s lives, either at home or abroad.