Host L'Oreal Blackett with organisers Helen Kerray and Morgana Loze-Doyle. Photo credit: Robyn Swain.Host L'Oreal Blackett with organisers Helen Kerray and Morgana Loze-Doyle. Photo credit: Robyn Swain.
Host L'Oreal Blackett with organisers Helen Kerray and Morgana Loze-Doyle. Photo credit: Robyn Swain.

Hundreds of women celebrate female power at special Preston event

Hundreds of women flocked to an inspiring female empowerment event in Preston this weekend.

More than 200 women attended Saturday's WomanKind North - the first of its kind in the region.

The festival, which marked International Women’s Day, celebrated the grit, diversity and power of the region's females.

Speaking about the day, L’Oreal Blackett, journalist and host of the event’s Inspo Stage, said: “It's often hard to feel uplifted in this era of social media and comparison but at Womankind North, women from all walks of life gave not only myself but everyone else around them so much encouragement and a sense of pride. I was so taken aback by how sincere every single guest speaker was. Their stories were both powerful and inspirational.”

The afternoon featured speaker panels, workshops, inspirational story-tellers and sets from an award-winning comedy actor.

Entrepreneurs Helen Kerray and Morgana Loze-Doyle founded the event to give women a platform to celebrate their success. A portion of the ticket sales went to Lancashire Women, a charity comprising a network of centres that offer safe, female-only spaces.

Amanda Greenwood, the charity's CEO, said: "Womankind North was such a fantastic opportunity for women of all walks of life to come together. We need to do this more. It's clear positive steps have been taken but the landscape needs to change and that's why I found it so important to take my place and share factual evidence of the adversity and power imbalance that women are still greeted with. We need to have healthy conversations and open up about the identities we are perhaps not so comfortable with. It is so easy to have faceless conversations, but technology at our fingertips can be used in a much more powerful way, securing personal connections and change that's achievable."

Bringing fun and laughter to the afternoon was Ali Kahn, an award-winning comic writer and actor who believes that there is power in laughing whilst learning about ourselves and the world we live in. Ali performed two lively sets during the afternoon session.

Leyland mum Lynne Lisett attended the festival with her daughter, forgoing a day at the theatre.

The 62-year-old said: "I'm of an age where I have achieved so much both career-wise and personally too but I whole-heartedly agree that feminism has changed. It's become forward-thinking, less of an ideology and has nothing to do with being men-haters. It should be celebrated just like it has been today so that the next generation can feel free and have no barriers."

Meanwhile, Lynne's daughter, Nicky Taylor (32) called it "a festival of knowledge, fun, inspiring stories and lots to take away."

Attendee Amy Cheadle said: “International Women’s Day can be a bit of a mixed bag. Where it should be a vehicle to dissect and address the reasons women still experience inequality in literally every country of the world and the layers of privilege experienced by some over others (and most importantly, what actions we should be taking to address the balance), it can so often be tokenisation and performative. Not so in this corner of the world, where I am incredibly proud of Morgana and Helen who put on WomanKind North. Gender, race, sexuality, pleasure, domestic violence, activism, body image, acceptance, empowerment, inspiration, creativity, cocktails and comedy all managed to co-exist in an atmosphere of solidarity and deep respect."

Co-founder Morgana offered her thanks to everyone who attended and supported the event.

She said: “Both Helen and I were overwhelmed with the energy, positivity and connectivity that was created at WomanKind North. The whole day truly surpassed our expectations and it really goes to show what can be achieved when a large group of diverse women come together to celebrate each others' successes, share inspirational stories, inspire and uplift each other.

“The energy in the room was vibrant and electric from start to finish. It felt like such an apt celebration of International Women’s Day weekend - championing the truly remarkable women in the region and providing a platform for females to come together to learn from and celebrate each other.

“This is the first time an event of this kind, on this scale, has been held in Lancashire and we are proud to have put the region on the map this International Women’s Day."

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