Opinion: How a writing workshop is helping Utah women find their voice

My voice deserves a seat at the table, and I want my daughters to know their voices do, too.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) “She Said,” a series of free workshops offered by the Community Writing Center in partnership with Amplify Utah, will be held March 2 and March 16 at 210 E 400 S #8 in Salt Lake City.

As a woman, I juggle numerous roles. Some are clear-cut — being a mother, wife, daughter and writer. Others, recognizable to other women, are muddled — like being an unpaid driver for often moody teenagers, a short-order cook and the carrier of anxiety and worry.

Amid the chaos, I am keenly aware my voice can get lost in the shuffle, which translates to simply feeling lost.

This issue is not uniquely mine.

“I am an ex-Mormon and used to get my community through my church but have felt like I have had a hard time connecting to women in my community since leaving,” Lauren Melville recently told me.

I met Lauren at “She Said,” a series of free workshops offered by the Community Writing Center in partnership with Amplify Utah, which help women — including me — unpack topics that impact the daily lives of women in Utah like the gender pay gap and equality in their education, work and homes.

I see returning faces at many of these workshops, and they’ve become a place to create conversation and a community among women.

The lived experiences of women and those who identify as women transcend age, ethnicity and background. As women, we should participate in sharing and raising the voices of women in our communities because silence never impacts change. The “She Said” workshops are a model of that sentiment.

“I have enjoyed hearing the writings and perspectives of other women in Utah,” Lauren said. “I have felt a lot of connection going to the workshops.”

The workshops have helped me find connection too, and have reminded me that my voice deserves a seat at the table. I want my daughters to know their voices deserve that, too.

I encourage all women to find ways to share their stories, our communities will be richer for it.

Join the next “She Said” workshop — which will explore queer womxnhood — on March 2 from 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Another workshop called “Womxnhood in Utah” takes place on Saturday, March 16. No writing experience is required. Register at bit.ly/SheSaidWorkshop.

Amie Schaeffer

Amie Schaeffer is a life-long Utahn who graduated from Salt Lake Community College with a degree in journalism and digital media. She is currently a member of the Amplify Utah board.

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