FALLS Women's Centre have launched a new book to celebrate their 40th anniversary of supporting women in the local community.

'Inspirational Women, Past and Present' features contributions from women from Falls and Ballybeen Women’s Centres.

The booklet was produced as part of our Shared History project, funded by the Executive Office and Community Relations Council.

It brought women together from both communities to learn about each other’s history and different cultural traditions, with a focus on women’s roles over the last century.

The women visited the Linenhall Library, Ulster Museum, PRONI, Clifton House, Navan Fort, the NI War Memorial Museum, the James Connolly Centre, Sailortown and the Ulster-Scots Centre.  

Nancy Graham (Good Relations Training and Education Officer, Falls Women’s Centre) and Amanda Marshall (Education and Training Co-ordinator, Ballybeen Women’s Centre) worked together on the project, creating opportunities for women from West and East Belfast to come together for learning and friendship.

Nancy explained: "In today’s unsettled political environment the contribution of women to the peace-building process is as important as ever.

"Falls Women’s Centre is delighted to launch this booklet in the year that we celebrate our 40th anniversary of supporting women in the community.

"Asked to write about a woman who inspires you, the women came up with some real surprises, ranging from Emma Gonzalez, a young woman who fights for changes in US gun law, to Molly Seaton, Ireland’s greatest female footballer in the 1920s and 1930s.

"Historical figures fill the pages alongside recent campaigners such as Doreen Lawrence and political figures including Pearl Sagar of the NI Women’s Coalition.

"Historian Dr Myrtle Hill, and poet Dr Emma Must led the group with Myrtle’s in-depth sessions on key figures and political movements in Irish and Northern Irish history, and the social and economic conditions experienced by women in particular. Emma introduced the group to the idea of ‘Exphrasis’ – using a picture or artwork to inspire your writing.

"The pages include poetry, diary entries, letters and imagined characters, as well as reminiscence of childhood days."