“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger, women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” Quote by GD Anderson
Michelle Canning, a member of the Belfast, Lisburn & Castlereagh Chapter, explains why she got involved in The Next Chapter project and how she plans to confront injustice.
"A few years ago I participated in a Politics Plus programme called Women in Public Life, where I pledged that I would pursue my professional and personal development and work to effect change for all women across all walks of life. So, when I spotted the call out for The Next Chapter I immediately wanted to get involved.
Almost one year on and it has been an enlightening experience where I have had the privilege of having the opportunity to experience diversity of political and social opinion; real diversity and representation of society across creed, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, language and personality.
It has offered fresh perspectives on the discourse around gender inequality, and facilitated women to voice their opinions in a safe and welcoming space in order to address issues and bring them into the spotlight.
As someone brought up in a working-class border community, a former journalist and now a public servant, I understand the need for strong advocates, lobbying on behalf of the needs of communities to effect real and sustainable change.
I understand the need for legislative reform and the need for engagement and authentic consultation with people and communities about their future.
I understand how I can use my skills more effectively to work towards securing effective change for others, improving the representation of women in public and political life and to contribute to a more gender sensitive society across the island of Ireland.
I am planning to embark on a part-time MA in Human Rights in the autumn. I have no idea which path it will take me down, what opportunities it will lend me but I do know it will stimulate my heart and my mind.
So why not join me and the 300 other women across the 10 Chapters and inspire us, show us your vision, use your energy to face the challenges, to confront injustice, embrace challenge, contribute to a positive legacy and to work to ensure real change that benefits all of us."
Michelle Canning is also co-founder of Women in PR
Photo: Michelle (back row, far right) with co-participants from the Belfast, Lisburn & Castlereagh Chapter and Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly Women's Caucus at a recent Next Chapter event to mark International Women's Day 2019 at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.
For more photos of the event view here