If you are someone who wants to get back into education but have been put off in the past because it all seemed too difficult then Women’s Lives is ideal.
It is particularly suitable for women who have been out of education for a long time and have had few educational opportunities in the past.
Women’s Lives is not at all like courses you might remember from school or college. It has been designed to make it easier for women like you to get back into education. The aim of the course is to build your confidence as well as help you to develop your study skills, so the emphasis is on co-operation and mutual support. Unlike school, you aren’t in competition with other students but learning together. It is exciting and fun as well as being challenging.
What’s in the course?
Women’s Lives deals with issues of interest to all women and helps develop existing skills and give you new ones. It focuses on women’s experiences at work and in their personal lives.
Organised for you
You join a regular study group which meets every two weeks at a time that suits you. Early on there is also a residential weekend.
All the tutors on the course are women and your tutor will run the study group and help and advise you and give you feedback.
There are no fees to pay and UNISON pays for all the expenses including accommodation and meals for the weekend. All travel costs will be paid and there is help with childcare or dependant care cost.
Isle of Wight Local Government Branch
“Everyone enjoyed it … It was definitely worth doing”
Isle of Wight Local Government Branch Women’s Officer Julia O’Connell (second left) has helped more women become active in the union by bringing UNISON’s Women’s Lives course to the island.
“I wanted to get more women active and I thought that might be a good way to get them more involved with the union,” she says.
And she was right. Since finishing the course last year, one of the participants who had not been active before has become the branch education officer; another has taken on the equalities officer role and joined the regional women’s committee; and several more have signed up for further UNISON learning. When she first started thinking about organising the course, Julia knew that more women would take part if the course came to them for once (the vast majority of activist courses involve travelling to the mainland). But the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) had trouble finding a tutor who could make the regular trips to the island, which held everything up for several months until a branch member who had recently become a WEA tutor offered to run the course instead.
“Although a few people had to leave the course because of other commitments, everyone enjoyed it and nine women completed in the end,” Julia says. “You found out more about women’s issues, but you also found out about academic work, such as researching topics, interviewing people and writing up assignments, so it was also a good way for women to get back into learning.”
“The participants got a lot out of it, and it helped them become more active in the union, so it was definitely worth doing!” she says.