Birmingham City University Speaks Out for Female Empowerment

Birmingham City University launched its very own Women Speak Out event in light of International Women’s Day on 8 March.

The university joined many others across the UK to speak out for female empowerment with a campaign of powerful images.

The Women Speak Out campaign started off at Oxford University 4 years ago, and has recently made its way to Birmingham City University (BCU).

Seeing the success of the Oxford Speak Out campaigns, BCU’s Agape society decided to launch their own, inviting girls to take pictures writing inspiring messages on their body that they wanted to share with other women.

speak out make up.png

(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

The powerful photographs contained messages of motivation to other women, like “We can and we will,” and “Know your worth.”

(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

Following this, an exhibition was held, showcasing the photographs and allowing visitors to share their own messages on post-it notes.

Credit: Instagram/WomenSpeakOutBCU 

Sandeep, from the Agape Life society was a key part in running the Women Speak Out, sat down with Feminist Fairground after the exhibition to rave about the success of the empowering event.

“The overall message we’re trying to get across is to empower women to know their worth, know that they’re loved and to get girls united from all different backgrounds,” said Sandeep.

speak out sum of parts

(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

“My favourite image is one I did with my best friend and Lydia, who’s been running BCU Speak Out too. We’re all of different backgrounds, but the image shows we are all equal regardless of skin colour,” Sandeep said. “It’s so powerful, especially with what’s going on in the media today I think it’s very much needed.”

speak out same worth same value.png

(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

Campaigns like this are important in encouraging women to use their voices to tell the world their stories with relatable quotes.

“With the messages that these girls are giving, they have stories behind them – they’re not just clichés,” said Sandeep. “It’s beautiful that we can share meaningful stories like this. And it’s also needed to push for equality.”

speak out being yourself

speak out we can do it

(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

BCU Women Speak Out is a fantastic example of a feminist event that is all inclusive, with Sandeep saying, “We can all come together with a common cause; that we just want women to be valued – but not just women, men too.”

Despite only featuring women in the photos, BCU Women Speak Out is a campaign inclusive for men also, as Sandeep said, “We’ve had men come along and write really good inspiring messages as well. That’s been great.”

BCU Women Speak Out has been met with more than positive reception all round.

Sandeep gushed, “From word of mouth and through social media this has really blown up bigger than expected and people have seen what we’re doing and loved it.”

Sandeep took a moment to give praise to the photographer, SnapScratch’s Rebecca Chivers for taking the images professionally, “It meant people could see we did not do this half-heartedly, we wanted to go big for our first time.”

speak out greater

(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

BCU Women Speak Out want their images to create a lasting impression on women: that they are valued and created with purpose.

“For women, in the media there is a representation that we should fit a certain standard, that we should do this and do that, so through our images women can actually come together and empower one and other to know that are valued as they are.”

There’s more to expect from BCU Speak Out, as they head towards launching their next event for women.

“What’s next is a follow on event from the Agape Student Life society called What Women Want, and it’s 3 sessions and the first one focuses on identity. Since we’re told to look a certain way it’s important for us to sit down and look at what our own identities are.”

speak out be who they want

(Credit: Rebecca Chivers)

The first What Women Want session begins on the 8th of May., and more information can be found on the BCU Agape Student Life page.

To see more of the images taken by BCU Women Speak Out, visit their Instagram page.

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