100 years ago some women in the UK first got the right to vote. I have been delighted to talk about this subject on a variety of media including BBC East Politics, BBC Radio Suffolk and have three articles appearing across the year in Suffolk Life magazine. Here I am standing outside Millicent Fawcett’s house in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, very early in the morning!
What better place to celebrate 100 years since some women first gained the vote than by running a workshop in Aldeburgh, the home of Millicent Fawcett who was instrumental to this hard-won right. Delighted as ever to be running workshops – my favourite kind of work – I teamed up with the Britten Pears Foundation and author and historian Viv Newman to discuss women’s rights past and present.
Viv gave an absolutely fascinating talk about the what the suffragettes and suffragists did in WWI, I was enthralled and immediately preordered her book on the subject. I then spoke about what has happened to women’s rights since 1918 – lots of good news of course. Things have improved dramatically! But there is also still some way for us to go before we have true equality. There was a lively discussion afterwards with a focus on what we can do to change the status quo.
Here is a word cloud of phrases that came out during my talk. The largest words are the words mentioned most often.
In November 2017 I ran a workshop at the Fawcett Society annual conference looking at how we could commemorate 100 years since this important event locally. We looked at engaging the unusual suspects, working regionally and heard about some fantastic ideas that are already planned! Fawcett have created some fantastic resources on suffrage have a look at them here.
- ‘The Garrett family on Aldeburgh Council’ by Richard Marson.
- ‘Shake the Chains’ concert at Snape Maltings
- ‘Millicent Garrett-Fawcett; the sexual politics of a suffragist’ by Janet Howarth*.
- Exhibitions at the The Long shop Museum, Leiston, Aldeburgh Moot Hall Museum
- ‘The Life of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson’ by Diana Quick
- ‘Make More Noise’ – An 80 minute BFI compilation of silent films about the contemporary portrayal of suffragettes
- Promenade play: ‘A Woman of Purpose’
To find out more about Elizabeth Garrettand the events we held in 2017 click here.
I was delighted to appear on a BBC Radio Suffolk documentary about it as well for a Look East Politics Programme.
It was fantastic to be involved in the project during my time at Fawcett and I am so pleased to see it published. It is an incredible in depth report looking at women in local government from councillors to staff. It is such an in depth piece of work.
Click here to read the the results of a year-long study led by the Fawcett Society in partnership with the Local Government Information Unit, which asked ‘Does Local Government Work for Women?’ and contains recommendations to help solve the issues faced by women in town halls.
In February I took part in a 2.5 day innovation process to help Oxfam come up with some great ideas for how to solve women’s poverty. It was amazing, exhausting and emotional. You can see me in my various states of dress in this video below.
Whoop! Pretty excited about the Gender Equality Charter being launched on 10 March 2016… It’s been a year of consulting and talking, learning, persuading but I think this is pretty cool. Here is the press release from LBBD or you can read more here.
An east London council has made history by becoming the first local authority in the country to adopt a Gender Equality Charter.
The Cabinet at Barking and Dagenham, where the actions of Ford machinists Rose Boland, Eillen Pullen, Vera Sime, Gwen Davis and Sheila Douglass changed labour relations, last night adopted a Gender Equality Charter and called on local partners to support the initiative.
The charter will support everyone in achieving their full potential and have more influence over decisions affecting their lives. It places a strong emphasis on making sure that all genders have the same chance of success.
It has been developed through consultation with the community and focuses on four themes; access to power and representation in public life; economic inequality and impact of caring responsibilities; culture including gender stereotyping; and, violence against women.
It reflects not only the national issues that impact on gender equality but, more importantly, prioritises the issues and challenges identified locally.
Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Darren Rodwell, said: “I am proud to be the Leader of a council that is delivering ground breaking work on gender equality.
“Our borough has a proud history of promoting gender equality – from the 18th Century writer and philosopher, Mary Wollstonecraft, and the early suffragette movement, to the workers of Fords who helped secure the equal pay legislation we enjoy today.
“The charter will help make sure the council and its partners make a demonstrable difference to tackling gender inequality and support everyone to achieve their full potential regardless of their gender. I believe this will inspire civic pride and help us to build one borough and one community.”
Councillor Afolasade Bright, the Council’s Equality Champion, added: “The council has a vision to tackle equality issues relating to each of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act, and is starting with gender equality – which affects everyone.
“In particular, tackling the issues faced by women, girls and the transgender community in the 21st Century needs the active support and participation of everyone, especially men and boys.
The Gender Equality Charter will be launched at an event on 10 March in Barking Town Hall, and will be the centrepiece of the council’s second annual, Women’s Empowerment Month.
Sorry, this is about 7 months late! In the absence of the fabulous Kirsty Styles, I took over the Weekly Economics podcast to talk to economics guru and my buddy Sarah Lyall about why working a shorter working week would be good for the economy. This weekly podcast about economics is a must listen, so tune in here.
Kirsty and James are away for the bank holiday, but the show must go on. Guest host Polly Trenow is joined by Sarah Lyall, NEF social policy researcher, to talk about how shorter, more flexible hours of work could be transformative for our economy and society.
The programme, develops people working in the social sector – charities and enterprises to become better leaders. It was established by the Clore Duffield Foundation to improve leadership in the not-for-profit sector.
This year’s intake includes new specialist fellowships in the fields of gender equality, youth social justice and migrant communities.
We will go through a 12-month personalised programme that will include residential courses, coaching and mentoring, and a secondment.
I was delighted to be asked to come and discuss feminist economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in York. I did two sessions – the first was a general talk about the ways in which gender interacts with the economy, you can see that session captured in the video below. The second was a session for the policy staff who asked a lot of tough questions! We looked more specifically at some of the measures the Women’s Budget Group advocate for in order to create a more equal society.
Great to be up in York with you all!