This year PDSW #ChoosetoChallenge in order to amplify the voice of women with caring and work responsibilities.

Many of our staff are women who have worked through the Pandemic alongside homeschooling or providing childcare or other care. As with all of our workers, they have dealt with emotional, mental or physical health issues which have been aggravated or directly impacted by Covid and some have also had personal loss and grief.

Never have women juggled so many responsibilities or had so many pressures. And yet they’ve delivered tremendous imaginative work for our communities.

“I am a single mother of a 12 and 13 year old. I’ve led our organisation through this difficult year, but I’ve still been making breakfast, lunch and dinner for my kids, chasing them about their schoolwork, hassling them about too much screentime for their gaming, tried to mediate their arguments, cleaned the house (well, occasionally!), washed up, tidied up and shopped. I’m lucky that they were this age. If they’d been at primary school I couldn’t have done this.”- Zannah Chrisholm

We work with female choreographers and producers who have had to reimagine their working practice, unable to access studio space or tour work. Some have turned their hand to other creative tasks – such as animation, cooking, crocheting, learning, writing – to stay connected with people, skill up, make money or stay sane.  As we emerge from the 3rd Lockdown in the UK, we need to support all of these women to navigate the shifts in their personal and work lives and emerge freer and stronger from the experience.

We need to work flexibly so they can take caring or educating responsibilities where they still need to. We need to give enough space in our planning to allow the ideas that have been brewing for change to be realised. We’re delighted to be part of the Women Leaders South West programme and, as part of it, to support 2 women to achieve their vision for a particular project and take their place as leaders in dance and the arts through 2021 and 2022.We need to make work as flexible as possible to enable women to live their whole lives and to be able to shape the wider world for a better future. 

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