Welsh charity Safer Wales is launching a new feminist library to mark International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. The #femlibsaferwales campaign will see books and resources made available to people anywhere in Wales, free of charge.
The project is part of the Champions of Wales programme, which Safer Wales delivers to young women engaged in its youth services. Champions of Wales is a girls’ rights movement working to change perceptions and attitudes towards girls so they can live free from gender inequality. Run in partnership with Plan International UK and three other organisations, the programme will support at least two hundred young people over three years, enabling them to build skills, confidence and an understanding of girls’ rights and gender equality.
Youth Development Lead at Safer Wales Rachel Brydon explained the inspiration behind the library:
“Champions of Wales is all about supporting young people to campaign on the issues affecting them and make a positive change in their communities. We aim to ensure Wales is a place where girls are heard and feel empowered. We know that reading can be transformational in empowering young people because it helps them understand women’s history, rights, and inequalities that unfortunately persist today.
“The idea for the library came from talking to the young people we work with. Many of them are from vulnerable groups and told us they don’t use libraries, yet they have a huge interest and appetite for learning about gender equality. We decided to pull together a list of books and resources and post them out to young people, and the idea just grew from there.
“We now have a long list of books and resources with a feminist theme – ranging from comics and graphic novels to fiction, poetry, and audio content – and we are making them available to anybody in Wales.
“Our titles cover a wide age range suitable for young and old, and people can find a full list online here. Everything in our collection can be borrowed free of charge, and we cover the postage for both the borrowing and return of items. We want to make the library is accessible for all so anybody living in Wales can register by filling out a simple form.”
Safer Wales has teamed up with the Director of Cardiff Book Festival, Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival and Co-Director of Pontypridd Books, Cerith Mathias, to develop the feminist library. Cerith will help curate an extensive list of books and resources, drawing on her interest in feminism and vast literary knowledge.
“I’m hugely excited to be a part of this important project. Safer Wales and the Champions of Wales programme provides invaluable work in tackling gender inequality and the barriers facing young girls and women in communities across Wales.
“The idea that just even one young girl is unable to access the huge wealth of writing by, and about, women is a devastating one. Reading and literature are key in empowering and educating women and girls of all ages. By sharing experiences, we feel valued and understood, and that can only lead to positive changes for women the world over.”
Rachel Brydon continued:
“We want the feminist library to grow and become the go-to resource for anybody interested in women’s rights, equality and feminism. We are adding to the library all the time, so if there is anything people wish to read, listen or watch, or if they have suggestions for any additions to our collection, we encourage people to get in touch.
“We would also love it if people could share their borrows with us and others using the hashtag #femlibsaferwales.”
To register with the Safer Wales feminist library and start borrowing, please contact Joanna Chittenden on [email protected].