Women’s taskforce sets out its equality stall

Inspirational women from across Oldham came together last Friday for the first meeting of a new taskforce headed by Council Leader Arooj Shah.

The new group, which includes women from a wide range of backgrounds, representing organisations across the borough, aims to address underlying disadvantages faced by women and promote greater equality.

Following their first meeting, the Oldham Women’s Taskforce will now draw up a plan for delivering a series of projects that make a real difference to women and their families.

Cllr Shah said: “Huge thanks go to these brilliant women who gave up their time to come along to the first meeting of our new women’s taskforce.

“I was so impressed with the energy, passion and motivation in the room and am confident that this group will make a real difference in addressing issues of inequality, which sadly still exist here in the borough today.

“These talented and dedicated women care passionately, as I do, about our town and our communities. A lot of fantastic ideas came out of our initial discussions and I’m really looking forward to seeing the work get underway.”

Issues discussed at the first meeting included the inequalities that persist in areas such as democratic engagement; health; pay and opportunity; finances; education; parenting and caregiving; violence and crime.

Youth worker Chloe Lord (pictured below with Cllr Shah), one of the women invited to attend the session, said: “It felt a bit daunting at first; I was a bit star-struck because there were all these women from different walks of life, who’ve done so much, and I felt like I shouldn’t be there

“But then, when we got to the group work, there was so much we could all contribute as we were all from different backgrounds and we all had different experiences to share.

“I’m hoping this will be a great way to bring forward projects that benefit women in Oldham. Every single woman in that room was equally passionate about bringing forward their ideas and I know we all have a lot to give.”

Chloe and Arooj

Rose Kirunda, vice-chair of Support and Action for Women Network (SAWN), said: “Meeting with Arooj Shah and other passionate women in Oldham, having an honest discussion about the issues affecting us as women in Oldham, was brilliant.

“And it being my first physical  meeting since the start of the lockdown it gave me hope that women will be part of the Oldham Covid-19 recovery agenda.”

Laura Windsor-Welsh, strategic lead at Action Together, said: “I’m delighted to a member of the Oldham Women’s Taskforce. Unfortunately it’s still the case that women experience inequalities in many areas of their lives.

“It was both refreshing and inspiring to be with others who want to commit their time and energy to reduce the inequalities that women in Oldham face. I look forward to doing my bit alongside this impassioned group of women.”

Cllr Shah has made an outstanding start to her term as Leader, under some difficult circumstances, and this latest initiative merely underscores that, alongside the seamless change of chief executive (read here) and the newly instigated Don’t Trash Oldham campaign, culminating in a planned ‘deep clean’ across all 20 of Oldham’s wards.

The date for the next OWT meeting will be confirmed in the near future.

Page last updated: Tuesday 7th September, 2021 at 1030 hours

Corrections: Please let me know if there is a mistake in this article. I will endeavour to correct it as soon as possible.

Picture credits:  Oldham Council

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2021. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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