MondayWomen-Liverpool (Meetings & Yahoo Group) 2003 –
Monday Women is an entirely free-to-join group of women who meet together and also have an e-group. It promotes the sharing of news, views and ideas and is also a sounding board for the friendly sharing of matters of interest and concern. As such, it is a social enterprise which manages without formality or funding.
Monday Women is a social enterprise of the simplest sort. It’s free and open to all women, both as an e-group and as a meeting point. (We meet 5.30 – 7-ish on the first Monday of every month, except if a Bank Holiday, in the Third Room of the Everyman Bistro, Liverpool.)
Setting up the Group was an experiment. At the beginning, on 3 March 2003, there were about thirty ‘members’, who already mostly knew each other. Now there are some hundreds of women who have been asociated with the Group, of whom about two hundred are currently ‘members’ of it. ‘Applications’ [*] to join the e-group arrive almost every week, and sometimes new ‘members’ simply arrive at meetings, having heard about the Group on the grapevine. The fact that there are no formal costs or structures means that the Group is sustainable in its own right, without funding or other constraints.
The issues which have arisen in Monday Women discussion and e-correspondence have been really varied, covering everything from parks policy and landscape gardening (the Sefton Park plans have attacted particular interest), to requests for domestic / personal support (including the loan fo a baby car seat for a visiting grandchild!), to enquiries from researchers about people’s views on and experience of a range of things (The Mersey Partnership’s ‘Gender Agenda’ has featured in several discussions, as has the ambitious cliam that Liverpool could become the most ‘women-friendly city in Liverpool’ by 2008).
The e-group has also become a ‘notice board’, with job vacancies, concert and theatre postings, information about outings and much else.
The e-group has hosted some vigorous debates on issues of equality, health, employment etc; some of these topics have also had a full airing at meetings, to which speakers are occasionally invited – though mostly people just bring with them topics they may wish to discuss.
And, importantly, the Group has been a source of new friends, pleasant company and sometimes positive support for women of many sorts and in many situations. Surely, then, an example of how e-technology can be adapted at almost no cost (except time) to serve a genuinely social function?
To join, please visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MondayWomen-Liverpool/, or contact the convenor, Hilary Burrage, direct. Or just come to a Monday Women meeting!
[*] To begin with there were some ‘technical ‘problems with the e-group, which appeared to be of interest to spammers. For this reason, and no other, the Group decided it would be necessary for ‘members’ to ‘apply’ through the website to join the e-group, rather than simply joining in. This necessary decision, whilst unfortunate, has removed the spam issue and made members of the Group more comfortable.