KeyChanges produced a film telling the story of the women’s experiences. Michelle Nicholson, the Managing Director explains more…

For KeyChanges being part of the ‘I am a woman first and last’ project was an amazing opportunity which we were keen to be involved in. KeyChanges is an organisation who only knows too well that voices which are often hidden through stigma and lack of understanding are not heard or are lost. Being able to enable the women in our organisation to not only share their stories but to showcase them with decision makers including Baroness Corston was extremely empowering.

I will not forget the first day I got a group of women together to ask if they wanted to be a part of this project. The women who are often withdrawn and state they have feelings of hopelessness changed into women who could take on the world! There was a real buzz of excitement. Debates started and they said they wanted to mention things they don’t really get the chance to talk about, like feelings of failure and being treated unfairly. The group changed into powerful and successful women within half an hour. One women chose the film idea…another who their audience would be…and another what they wanted to be included in the film.

IMG_0589These women came alive and afterwards the women felt they had achieved something, some of them for the first time and one of the women said “Look what we can achieve”. They belonged to something and were united.

Since then the group met up several times. Some of the women have put hours and days into preparing the film. Women expressed their stories and made statements of their life experiences which where fragmented and then reassembled to create one woman’s story – an amalgamation of all their experiences, a symbol of one woman’s story but representing 10 women’s voices.

To gain women’s voices KeyChanges provided a safe, non-judgmental, respectful environment. It was an amazingIMG_0588 journey to be a part of. Sometimes it was hard, powerful, exciting, tragic and shocking. I remember being so shocked listening to one woman’s story and realised just how brave she had been in her life. I think of her now as a true survivor.

We did find that all too often women had a similar story to tell. Women described being used to feeling powerless in relationships. And the effect of coming to a large institution made them more powerless. Some of the things that were said in the film were disturbing and traumatic.

The women who made this film really are true survivors and thank Women’s Breakout for the chance to be empowered for at least one moment in their lives.

Michelle Nicholson
Managing Director, Keychanges – Unlocking Women’s Potential

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