Look around Bristol’s home-grown magazine scene and you will soon see that while there are many local area magazines and events listings magazines, there is a complete dearth of local magazines aimed at women. We passionately wanted to bridge that gap and also to produce a community magazine that would reach and appeal to all women in Bristol – from hard to reach communities to aspiring feminists, mums, women passionate about Bristol and professional women. ‘Bristol Woman’ was therefore born and launched last November 2013.
But that’s not all. As ‘Bristol Woman’ CEO and Chief Editor, Dr Cezara Nanu, outlined at last November’s launch event at The Mauretania in Park Street, “when we look around and see that women are underrepresented in decision making and leadership roles, we wonder why”. Hence, our ultimate goal for Bristol and the women’s community in Bristol is a 50/50 city for Bristol. A city, where as Cezara says, “where women are equally represented in the private and public sector; where not 20% but 0.2% are subjected to violence and abuse; where women share stories, learn from each other, are happy to express themselves and are confident in their bodies”. We want Bristol Woman to contribute in a meaningful way towards that goal. It’s a tough goal but we want Bristol Woman to be part of the journey to an engagement women’s community in Bristol and a 50/50 city.
In terms of editorial, the underlying theme of ‘Bristol Woman’ is an emphasis on sharing and portraying the lives of ordinary Bristol women with extraordinary lives. Our content covers a wide range of topics from women’s leadership and women’s rights campaigners to the challenges of Bristol mums, body confidence, building self esteem, sporting successes and a whole variety of local true life stories.
Bristol Woman is also now a fully registered Community Interest Company. 2014 will see ‘Bristol Woman’ continue to expand and produce the magazine – the next issue will be published on International Women’s Day on March 8th – but also expand its remit into the provision of leadership, enterprise and well-being courses for women alongside a variety of fundraising initiatives. The team headed up by Dr Nanu as ‘Bristol Woman’ CEO, includes freelance marketing expert, Bernie Ritchie and feminist campaigner and active volunteer Sian Webb along with several others.
We want the magazine to continue to provide fresh and relevant content for all women in Bristol. We want to see ensure that the magazine highlights the lives of ordinary Bristol women with extraordinary lives and, critically, raises debates on everyday sexism and discrimination, domestic abuse, mental health and well-being, and parenting. The Bristol Woman magazine team remains intensely keen that that magazine’s focus is on women’s issues – of all shapes and sizes – in Bristol and that it provides an opportunity for women in Bristol to engage with each other and share and discuss all issues vital to women in Bristol. Wherever possible, we would like ‘ Bristol Woman’ to be a community magazine written by women for women and we are always on the hunt for powerful women’s stories for women contributors.
A really key point about ‘Bristol Woman’ is that we want it to remain free. This is clearly tricky as it means we must fundraise with intensity to raise funds to cover the magazine’s production costs but we know it is vital. Vital to ensure that the magazine is equally available to women across the city of Bristol with no-cost barrier and that the magazine is freely available at key locations across the city [from cafes to libraries] as well as by online download from www.bristolwoman.org.uk.
And so, in conclusion, as Dr Cezara Nanu commented at the magazine’s launch, “We want Bristol Woman to become a vital local resource for women’s perspectives and a trigger for women’s engagement on these issues across the city”. For the ‘Bristol Woman’ team, the magazine represents a chance and a much-needed opportunity to balance women’s under-represented views and perspectives and an opportunity for women in Bristol to gather strength from the views of others and from telling their own stories.
The launch team – L to R – Cezara Nanu, Sian Williams, Bernie Ritchie
The magazine needs the help of all women in Bristol to ensure its very life-force remains vital. We want fresh ideas for articles from you, suggestions and offers for magazine contributors and real engagement with the magazine and the issues it raises. And, of course, it goes without saying, that we would love you to recommend us to potential funders and pass on to us your fundraising ideas and ideas for possible funders. As the Half The Sky Movement say, ‘Change is possible for women and YOU can be part of the solution’! Please support Bristol Woman magazine in whatever way you can to ensure better lives for women in Bristol, enriched perspective and depth of cross-sector engagement within the community of women in Bristol. Talk to us any time. We’re human – and Bristol women! We would love to know what you think and hear your ideas.
Bristol Women magazine is freely available at key public locations across Bristol and can be downloaded at no cost from www.bristolwoman.org.uk. The next issue will be launched on International Women’s Day, March 8th. Follow all the latest discussions and updates from ‘Bristol Woman’ on Twitter [@bristolwoman] and on Facebook.com/BristolWoman