Published Friday 30 November 2018 at 9:10
Female Blackburn with Darwen councillors supported a recent local community event that aimed to inspire young women and girls to get involved in local politics while celebrating the achievements of the suffragette movement.
Around 80 women and girls attended community group One Voice’s ‘Votes for Women, Women for Votes’ event, which celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act that first gave women the right to vote. The Act gave some women and all men the right to vote in local and national elections.
The One Voice girls group, know as the WEGs, wanted to use the ‘Votes for Women, Women for Votes’ event to remember the key figures from the suffragette and suffragist movements that made this happen, including Emmeline Pankhurst and Millicent Fawcett.
Speakers at the event held at Bangor Street Community Centre included Blackburn MP Kate Hollern, Councillor Saima Afzal, Councillor Jackie Ann Floyd and Sifa Turi, leader of the WEGs.
Councillor Floyd urged more women to get involved in politics. She said:
I would urge you all to join a local party. By doing so, you can herald a change in the lives of all the people living in Blackburn and Darwen.
I think this event has been absolutely brilliant because it has brought women from Blackburn of all ages into the same room at the same time to recognise the work that the suffragettes and suffragists did and that it hasn’t stopped, that it’s a continuum to get some justice for all.
Kate Hollern MP spoke about the importance of women in the Match Women’s Strike in 1888, and how they, alongside the suffragettes, made the change for women as they challenged the atrocious working conditions they were subjected to. Kate also spoke about her own journey, and urged the women of One Voice, particularly from the Women’s Network and WEGs, to become more politically involved. Kate Hollern said:
It’s been a fantastic event and hopefully it’ll encourage more young girls to get involved in politics. Politics is in everyday life – you have an amount of money, you know how you’re going to spend it and set priorities and make sure those priorities help the people.
Councillor Saima Afzal spoke about her mother being a spiritual suffragette in her own life and how she inspired Saima to get involved in politics. She stood up to many challenges and has become one of the first South Asian women to become a borough councillor in Blackburn.
More information about One Voice’s WEGs girls group is available at www.onevoicenetwork.org.uk.