Valerie Wise discusses positive qualities of women's organisations



Valerie Wise talks about her opinions of working with women as opposed to men, both during her time at the Greater London Council and in her current role with Preston Domestic Violence Services. She comments on the variety of experiences and views that women bring to both their work and their social lives.

Why do you think Valerie Wise believes women ‘have a much rounder view of life than men’? Do you agree with her?

International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s and is celebrated around the world every year on 8 March. Celebrations focus on respect, appreciation and love towards women, and a recognition of their economic, political and social achievements. What do you think is the point of this? What would you like to see celebrated with an international day?

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Valerie Wise, Programme of Action for Women in London (London: GLC, 1993) © Greater London Council



I’m here in Preston doing my own thing with the women I work with. Although I like men, I think I feel quite happy working again in an organisation that is a women’s organisation. And although the GLC wasn’t a women’s organisation, let’s face it, I worked with a women’s committee and with a lot of women supporting that committee and women influencing that committee. So I think perhaps my natural affinity is working with women.

What do you like about that environment, do you think? What makes it so good to work in?

I think women have a much rounder view of life than men. We still do stuff for International Women’s Day, but a while back we were doing stuff where we would have all sorts of sessions on International Women’s Day. We would do pampering sessions but we’d have highly political sessions and then we’d have dancing. And you can’t think of a way where 500 men would get together and have a pampering session and a dancing session and a political thing. I think our lives are more varied and we bring all sorts of things into it, much more than I think a man does. At work, I’m not saying men can’t have a laugh, but their laugh always seems about football jokes or jokes about women, whereas we can have all sorts of jokes. We’re dealing with really serious heart wrenching issues at work but you have to somehow have a lighter side otherwise you’d not cope. You cannot support women who are victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, rape, etc, unless you can actually turn off some of the time and also see better bits of life. And I mean, we’ve done The Vagina Monologues here a couple of times to raise money for the Preston Domestic Violence Services. And I mean, that has got some incredibly funny bits in it as well as some awful bits showing the reality. So I don’t know, I just like it, although I like the company of men as well, and let’s face it, I got married at eighteen. Maybe it’s my working life, not particularly my social life, which I don’t really have very much social life, but, as I’m not a social person, but my working life I think is best with women.

Valerie Wise discusses positive qualities of women's organisations
29 September - 1 October 2011
Sound recording
Sisterhood and After: The Women's Liberation Oral History Project
© British Library
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British Library

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