This morning I was in Cardiff to chair a meeting with a real difference – the awards ceremony for Women Making a Difference. Celebrating its fifth year, Women Making a Difference is a capacity building programme that aims is to educate and imbue women in Wales with skills, confidence and the right mindset to become 'leaders' in their communities, and decision makers at all levels of public and political life. In particular, the programme focuses on those women who are under represented because of their race or religion, disability, age, sexuality and/or their education, social status, and geographic location.
The entire programme is part of Women Engendering Change – a project that aims to develop the confidence and ability for women to get their voices heard. Women who complete the preliminary course can then chose to partake in the Women in Public Life, which builds on these new-found skills, knowledge and confidence to explore further opportunities open to them in public appointments, political life or community development; or even the Women in Management course that covers supervisory and management skills, and career and personal development. Many women from all backgrounds have taken part in the project and formed important friendships that help build a cohesive and supportive community.
It was a truly wonderful experience to see so many countries represented with many of the women involved represented their birthplace through national dress, and their enthusiasm, laughter, confidence gained and commitment proved that Women Making a Difference is a real programme for happiness. Hopefully it will be something that we can offer in England soon.