"I march with my Women's Institute" by Petra

30 Jun 2023

Petra (she/her) & her allies, Adrienne (she/her) and Julie (she/her)

Shot by Bex Wade (they/them)

Petra has found allies within her Women’s Institute (WI) family. She appreciates how keen the members are to understand her experience in the world as a trans woman. She believes in the power of education. That’s why she shares her story with her WI allies, so that they can go on and spread the message of acceptance further. Petra marches with equity.

What does allyship mean? It means acceptance of both the person and their community - and that means not just accepting, it also means supporting. Support can come in small ways, for example by taking a person shopping, or using their name and pronouns, or demonstrating their acceptance to others.

Organisations can be allies by ensuring their work environment is inclusive. They should celebrate diversity through a culture that is truly top-down, supported by all levels of management and staff. Clear HR guidance, policies and education are great and necessary, but they are no substitute for an inclusive culture.

Without allies, you can’t do anything. They are desperately needed.

How does your ally support you? I get a warm welcome from all the WI members that I meet, and I’m treated no differently to any other WI member.

Both the National Federation of Women’s Institutes and my friends at the Colchester WIGs WI have wholeheartedly supported my participation in this “Never March Alone” campaign. What better allyship can you have than that?!

All of the WI members are incredibly friendly. I always get a warm and accepting reception. Everyone is supportive and has a real keenness to gain an understanding into the transgender world.

After a recent article was published about a group of women calling for the embargo of trans members, I was heartened to receive offers of support and affection from every member of the Cake and Revolution WI (Ipswich) at our next meeting. At the end of this, our President gave an impassioned speech about fellowship, inclusivity and equity. The WI is a truly wonderful organisation.

I march with my Women’s Institute

I march with equity