Shipley IWD celebration
Shipley IWD celebration

On Saturday 11th March we held our first International Women’s Day celebration. As you know IWD is on the 8th March but as this was a weekday we thought that more women were likely to attend on a Saturday. The event was open to all women, not just Party members. It was a women-only event.

The meeting was a real success with 40 women present, including the panel. 10 of those present were not Labour Party members.

There was an excellent panel of speakers: Naz Shah MP Bradford West, Susan Hinchcliffe (Council Leader), Vick Jenkins (Shipley Branch) and Ann Morgan. The theme of the day was Being a Woman and Feminist in 2017: Overcoming Obstacles. Each speaker addressed this in their own individual way, talking about their own personal journey and beliefs. Part of their addresses were lighthearted and engaging but there were some serious messages about how we all need to be feminists even today. Thank you so much to our speakers on the panel.

We began the day with a stall for two hours in the morning. We engaged with the public, giving out postcards, information and invitations to the afternoon event in the Library. There was also a game of ‘Guess the famous woman’, matching women to their outstanding achievements. This was sadly quite difficult as many of the women’s faces were not as well known as they would have been had they been male.

The afternoon started with refreshments at 2.15pm in the library. Addresses by the panel started a little later. This was followed by a question-and –answer session and the event finished by 4.15pm.

Children were included in the invitation. There were two tables at the back of the room with drawing materials and books for them. One non-party member told me that she had enjoyed the event and appreciated it being so ‘child-friendly’.

We were able to give our banner (Shipley Labour Party WOMEN) its first outing. We had postcards printed outlining the main points of the recent Equality for Women Policy and linking this to general economic aims – Equality Benefits Everyone. If you would like some of these for events in your branch we do have some left so please get in touch.

Rona and I had attended an event for International Womens Day on the day before our own event. This was a charity lunch hosted by Linda McAvan MEP, near Sheffield. There we were given postcards Hands off our EU rights for women which can be signed and sent to David Davis MP demanding that ‘women’s rights must be protected and should not be overlooked…… the exit negotiations and beyond’. A few of these remain if you would like to sign and send.

At the Sheffield event Rachel Reeves MP talked about her new book about Alice Bacon (the first female MP from Yorkshire). Rona bought a copy and this was signed by Rachel Reeves. This was duly raffled at our own event and in total, with donations for refreshmentswe raised £70. This was given to Biasan Women’s Club (Bradford Immigration and Asylum Advice Network) where many Syrian women refugees now come for help.

I would like to thank all those who helped make this event possible – Sue Easterbrook, Vick Jenkins, Rona Lairdwright, Jackie Walters, Mary Macpherson, Jo Pike, Tina Downes, Chris Thurlby and Kath Jackson. On the day, to Vanda Greenwood, Maggie Pearse and Wil Elque (who let us loose with his PA system).

So all the women in our team form an excellent foundation for the new Women’s Forum. The meeting to constitute the Women’s Forum will be held in Shipley Library on Saturday 29 April at 2pm. A warm welcome is extended to all Shipley CLP women.

Jennifer Jones (Shipley CLP Women’s Officer) 16 Mar 2017

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