It’s March 8th and it’s International Women’s Day – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and to raise awareness for gender equality. The day is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.

To celebrate, we wanted to talk about and bring attention to some local women’s charities in Manchester that aid and support women with issues from unemployment to domestic abuse to sex work.

Check out their websites and social media pages, share them to your friends and maybe donate to these worthy causes – a small gesture can go a very long way and you may be really helping women who require these services! 

Pankhurst Trust 

The Pankhurst Trust was founded in 2014 as a merger between The Pankhurst Trust, which ran the iconic Pankhurst Centre with its museum and women-only activity space, and Manchester Women’s Aid, Manchester’s largest specialist provider of domestic abuse services.

The two-fold mission reflects the charitable objects central to both organisations:

(A) to promote the equality of women.

(B) to promote the benefit of women, suffering, or at risk of, domestic abuse, and their dependants.

The Pankhurst Centre is located at number 62 Nelson Street and was the home of Emmeline Pankhurst and her family from 1898 to 1907. The first meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union – the movement that became known as the suffragettes- took place in the parlour of the house. 

The Pankhurst Centre teamwork to ensure this important place remains open to the public and aims to develop it into the world-class heritage site it deserves to be.

As well as serving as a small museum and heritage centre, the Pankhurst Centre is also a women’s centre and community space. It provides  space for activities and events run, often, but not always, by women, for women. It is a unique and vibrant place where women can learn together, work on projects and socialise.

Smart Works

Smart Works is an initiative that launched in 2015 to support unemployed women find work from helping to write their CV to the appropriate outfit to wear for their interviews. Since opening they have helped over 1800 women from every borough of Greater Manchester, providing the confidence and clothes for job success.

The charity relies entirely on donations and grants to fund their work and they pride themselves on being a low-cost, efficient organisation with a small, dedicated team. Donate to Smart Works here –

MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health)

MASH are a charity that provides free and confidential support for women who are sex working in Greater Manchester.

They have been operating for over 25 years and give advice and tips on many crucial points including safety, the law, sexual health, money and drugs/alcohol. 

MASH runs a drop-in Centre in the ‘beat’ area, proactively visits women in saunas (massage parlours) and takes the MASH mobile drop-in van out, late at night, around the streets of Manchester and Cheetham Hill to reach women sex working on the streets.

MASH offers help to women:

  • Sex working on the streets
  • Sex working in saunas or massage parlours
  • Sex working independently (as escorts)
  • Doing web cam or phone sex work

All MASH services offer free condoms, a needle exchange, safety advice and refreshments.

At the drop-in centre, women can also visit the sexual health nurse, access support around debts or benefits, receive help to report crimes, referrals into mental health services, support with homelessness, support with addictions, domestic violence, counselling or take part in activities to build confidence or develop life-skills.