Odara offers women the opportunity to grow personally, professionally and socially. Us girls need to ensure we get out there and mix! That’s why we’ve launched a women’s only space in Birmingham. (Click on the ‘Wellbeing’ link for more).
The space is open to all women from all backgrounds to help with wellbeing, health and self-development. The space encourages women to be themselves, to meet other women that we might not ordinarily have the opportunity to meet to discuss life, interests and – yes! – politics.
As women, we are free to express ourselves and should be unafraid of being challenged or challenging others. Our voices need to be heard. We need to hear the views of others.
The ‘politics’ part is inspired by a new survey that’s just been published, which found that women are less likely to speak about politics with people outside of their ethnicity and class than men.
These days, there’s lots of talk about us living in virtual ‘echo chambers’ – that is, on social media we tend to befriend people of the same class, race, age, political views and interests. The knock-on effect of this is that we don’t hear or see the ‘other side of the coin’; we’re not challenged on our beliefs nor introduced to new ideas and likes.
But this can also be true in our real, non-virtual lives. We often live in communities populated by people also of our own ethnicity, class and political views, or at least mix mostly with them as neighbours and friends. This can result in a segregated, divided society which we will be able to buffer if we take steps, no matter how small, to bring us all together.
The new study focuses on the impact of not discussing politics with people outside of our ‘echo chamber’. Researchers from leading universities asked more than 20,000 adults about who they speak about politics with.
Some said they never do, preferring to keep their views to themselves. But more than 16,000 respondents say they do discuss politics with other people.
However, the key findings of the study revealed that 80% only ever talk about the subject with someone from the same social class. When it comes to race, more than 90% of white British people said they only discuss politics with people of the same ethnicity. For other ethnic groups, just less than 60% said they only talk about political views with people with the same racial background.
If we don’t hear other people’s views, prejudice and anxiety can flourish. It’s vital that we get out there and speak with our neighbours and people in our communities of different ethnicities and ages to ensure we get a well-rounded picture. We can learn, we can teach, we can challenge and be challenged.
This is how we build more trusting, cohesive communities and enhance our own political views.
ODARA’s women-only safe space is designed to help make this happen. If you’d like to find out more, contact us (click on the ‘contact’ link).