The Birth of GEP
Updated: Oct 28, 2021
Gender Equality Perth (GEP) officially became a charity at the end of August 2020, but the process was begun at the start of that year. The first seeds of GEP, however, were planted during the (WOW) Festival Perth, first held in 2017.
WOW is a festival which began in London and now takes place all around the world. Perth held three WOW events between 2017 and 2019, bringing together people from around Perth and Kinross, Scotland and the world to celebrate women and girls and to learn about and discuss issues relating to gender inequality. At the end of the first WOW Perth festival, some attendees were asking “what now?” We had begun these conversations and people wanted to keep talking. With this in mind, an informal space for talks, workshops and discussion was established in the summer of 2018, which officially became Perth Women’s Collective (PWC) in November that year.
PWC’s mission was to empower women through sisterhood, aiming to create an informal, welcoming, safe space in Perth, UK, for women to talk, to listen, to be celebrated, and to contribute to the conversation around gender equality.
In 2019 the group signed up to the National Advisory Council for Women and Girls (NACWG) Circle, and began participating in ‘wee circle’ discussions on themes set by the NACWG, feeding back to the Council on issues ranging from body image and mental health to fair work and many other topics in between. As PWC held more and more discussions on diverse themes as they related to women and girls, it became increasingly clear that while the themes might be different the root causes were all the same, and many of them are grounded in learned behaviours and cultural norms that influence people from the moment they are born, if not before. While the NACWG were looking at making change through government policies and processes, we started to think about what we could do on a small-scale, local level to start changing the way people thought, spoke and acted in relation to gender stereotyping. Ideas we had aplenty but it was clear we would need resources – and so the seeds for a new local charity were sown!
Gender Equality Perth will take on the programming for Perth Women’s Collective and will raise funds to run other projects in the local area. Several of GEP’s initial projects will focus around raising awareness of (and changing!) the gender stereotyping that goes on around very young children and the harmful effects this has on people and society. GEP is also currently looking into a public art campaign, a programme of public events and a data-collection project to paint a picture of gender equality in P&K. Many more ideas are in the long-term pipeline and we welcome input and introductions from people and organisations in P&K and beyond who are passionate about achieving gender equality.
We are currently taking steps to get ourselves online (we are very grateful to have had the help of Joe Douglas in designing our logo!) and have been busy submitting our first funding applications. Watch this space as events unfold!