Young Women Lead - Journal #4

Two weeks ago, we had our very last Young Women Lead meeting. The following fortnight has been a blur of work and and a visit to London for meetings and now that I sit down and reflect, I’m only right now processing that all of this is coming to an end. It’s become such a normal part of my monthly routine, to get that time with this fabulous group of women, and I’m going to miss it so much.

It was a wonderful way to round everything off, as we went through our report line by line together. Hearing everyone’s different perspectives on one line or even one word was fascinating (especially for Amy, the linguist) and I was so impressed by everyone’s knowledge of the content and research. The work could feel quite abstract at times and seeing the report in black-and-white made our recommendations feel real. I think everyone came into the review of the report feeling quite combative, ready to fight for all of the changes they wanted to make but we agreed on almost everything!

Speaking to lots of different organisations during this process has been quite heartening. I think we’ve all realised there are people out there trying to make changes; sometimes you feel like your own little island of activism and this has given us hope that there are people out there on our team.

I was worried, coming into this process, about being a bossy boots (as I’m want to do in group projects) but my poor mental health at the start of the year ended up being weirdly valuable. I’m a bit of a control freak in everyday life and hate relying on other people but my little Tor group showed me there’s help there if I want to ask for it and the work will still get done as long as you communicate!

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I was extremely lucky with my Tor group; our communication was incredible, we were really there for each other to pick up slack if someone suddenly became busy or ill and it didn’t necessarily feel that there was one “leader” having to carry everyone else. I don’t think some of the other groups were as well balanced, with some people feeling they were carrying everyone else. From the induction meeting, I’d worked out which people I would clash with if we worked together (not that I didn’t like them, but people who would frustrate me because our brains work differently) and chose a group based on where I would be happiest rather than the area of the project I was most interested in.

The only thing I’m happy about is that I’ll have more time for the other million-and-one things I’m doing this year…other than that, I’m definitely going to cry at graduation!

Lauren Aitchison