wewomen Newsletter

International Woman's Day: Alice Welbourn

 - International Woman's Day: Alice Welbourn
© Alice Welbourn
Alice Welbourn is the co-founder of The Sophia Forum, the UK Chapter of the UNAIDS Global Coalition on Women and HIV, promoting prevention and treatment for women living with HIV, both in the UK and internationally. Alice campaigns for women's rights and currently sits on the UNESCO Global Advisory Group for sex, relationships and HIV education.

Describe yourself in 5 words:
Passionate, Committed, Eclectic, Iconoclastic, Loving

How do you shake up female clichés in your daily life (job, family…)?
Where to begin?  I work from my home in rural Devon, except when I'm traveling internationally for work. My brilliant husband does most of the household running, on top of his own workload, which frees up my time to focus on my work. I have started a couple of different charities, which few women in the UK dare to do, though far more should and could.

My colleagues and I work in very participatory ways and we use IT a lot to collaborate across international boundaries. I am often on Skype calls with women from many different time zones, so my close working partners are from many different language and cultural backgrounds, which we find deeply inspiring.

We chat about our families and our shared complexities of juggling and multi-tasking as well as our work. I do my best to support young women who want to get involved in women's rights work.

What are you especially proud of? 
Developing a training program on gender and HIV which is now in use in over 100 countries; Working with brilliant young fashion designer Beshlie McKelvie to link the worlds of women's rights and women's fun.  We can have our cake and eat it! We deserve no less.

How do you imagine male and female relations in 20 years? 
The pessimist in me fears that women will still hold up half the sky and will still only have a fraction of the income, decision-making power and free time that men have.

The optimist in me trusts that women and men will rock the cradle and rock the boat of injustice together - that we will all fully recognize that we are equal and different, that equal pay for equal work is a human right and that glass ceilings are mirrors of shame for all those who walk on top of them.

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