“The third sector, which includes charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups, delivers essential services, helps to improve people’s wellbeing and contributes to economic growth. It plays a vital role in supporting communities at a local level.” Scottish Government
Wise Women have been providing services in Glasgow since 1994, and was established to “… address women’s fears of crime and violence by taking positive action through self defence and personal safety courses.”
The Organisation has changed through the years in response to women’s needs, and we now provide;
- Personal Safety
- Confidence Building
- Consultation services
- Signposting and support to women to access services appropriate to their needs
In addition Wise Women coordinates the Glasgow Women’s Voluntary Sector Network, (GWVSN), local women who oversee Open Space events for women and information and training sessions for workers in Glasgow. We also host the subgroup of GWVSN, the Standing Group on Violence Against Women, a forum of the 8 specialist violence against women services in Glasgow. This Group feeds directly into Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership, influencing strategy and policy around this issue in the City.
Wise Women’s services are open to all women, although we often provide workshops and courses in organisations delivering to specific communities of women, for example those experiencing homelessness and / or addiction, who are caught up in the criminal justice system or who are experiencing specific discrimination, such as those from BME communities.
Overall 96% of the women using our services have experienced violence and abuse, many multiple forms. This makes Wise Women a unique, violence against women service, accessible to all, but with a focus on violence and abuse. For many women accessing programmes such as confidence building, they may not have identified themselves as survivors of violence and abuse. Having the opportunity to recognise the experiences they have in common with other women can allow them to access services and activities to overcome the impacts they may have experienced.
This September Wise Women are providing a number of services and activities for women across Glasgow. These include;
- Internet Safety Workshop for women from BME communities
- Presentation of Equally Safe consultation commissioned by Scottish Government to partners
- Workers session on Women’s Rights as Human Rights
- Information Stall at Glasgow Caledonian University’s Fresher’s Week
- 3 Personal Safety workshops
We continue to provide our courses and this month are running
- 4 Personal Safety programmes, the equivalent of 16 sessions
- 2 Confidence Building programmes, one of which has a focus on Women, Weight and Wellbeing. This is the equivalent of 8 sessions.
Furthermore, we are delighted to have begun a partnership with Glasgow Life to provide IT Skills for women in the City, supported with funding from the Robertson Trust.
All from an organisation with 2.5 members of staff and 2 sessional personal safety tutors! Yet another example of the cost effectiveness of the Voluntary Sector. Wise Women is currently funded through the Integrated Grants Fund and this September our programmes and workshops are costing approximately £23 for each women / worker engaging, per session.
It is, however, the impact on women’s lives that is important. Women talk about increased confidence, feelings of safety, making positive changes in their lives and being able to access services appropriate to their needs, helping Glasgow to achieve their duty under the Equality Act (2010) to;
- eliminate unlawful discrimination
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t
- foster or encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t