STR!VE began as a pilot project in 2010 and was designed to help encourage women to speak up about issues affecting them. The aim was to heighten awareness and understanding of the diversity of women within the community, with an emphasis on developing cohesive leadership rooted in the ethos of knowledge, confidence and teamwork. It provided women with opportunities to enable them to actively participate in and contribute to their diverse society and promote women as positive role models in society.
STR!VE worked with women in faith communities on an empowerment project in association with St Philips Centre after a government report identified Muslim women as a target audience to be worked with in order to help counter the threat of violent extremism. The Communities and Local government report “Preventing Violent Extremism-Winning Hearts and Minds” identified that women’s voices are one of the least heard and that they needed more forums to encourage them to speak out.
During the course of the pilot, STR!VE ran an empowerment course encouraging women to sign up and learn skills to encourage them to speak up on issues that affected them in their communities and societies and established of a women’s support network. This was a forum for the women to consult on when issues arose to help promote new and up and coming positive role models for their communities.
STR!VE also held presentations and projects where key women in positions of influence from different professions were invited to talk and help empower other women encouraging them to make a difference. This provided an opportunity for women in faith communities to engage and network with female community leaders and other members.
STR!VE is particularly keen to work with and hear from women of faith communities who may not consider themselves to be ‘leaders’ but nevertheless want to be heard. STR!VE is committed to encouraging up and coming women to enhance their leadership skills and increase the participation of other women who are not usually seen in the media or in public.