Women, Aldeburgh and the Vote – a workshop with the Britten Pears Foundation

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 – polly wordcloud women's votesmy 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.

Liberal Democract Councillor and candidate answers #Vote4Equality questions

I asked all the council candidates standing for election in my ward Fawcett Society’s #Vote4Equality questions. Here is the response from the Liberal Democrat candidate and current Councillor Llyn Barton:

Cllr Lyn BartonThanks for the email which raises some key concerns. I have sent a letter to a fair number of women in the ward raising the issue of female representation on Councils. (I will put a copy through your door)

The Lib Dems have a good record for recruiting women but the Council overall has approximately 20 women to 40 men which I feel doesn’t reflect the population it claims to represent.

However as I said the Lib Dems have a good balance. We have a 19 year old female standing in Stanway who is engaging with 18 to 25 year olds to ensure they have a voice. The leader of the Council is a female Lib Dem. the Cabinet is half female.

My colleagues have recently ensured that CBC pays the living wage to all its employees.
We have done extensive work to ensure all staff are paid the correct rates regardless of gender  by working with Unison.

Colbea which the council supports with grant aid has just won funding to run special courses to help women set up businesses in the Borough.

With regard to Surestart that was an ECC cut but my County colleagues are challenging such cuts. The scheme was very successful in Shrub End and helped numerous families on the estate. New initiatives such as the pupil premium are being used to good effect to target our most vulnerable families and give them that extra help and support. As a school governor I am now seeking the evidence of the impact of this initiative.

Rest assured I am constantly working to ensure women are well represented on our Council and that they champion women’s rights and keep the subject firmly on the agenda.