GMB union International Womens Day 2021

The online event was a success, although a muted mic is no substitute for networking over a cuppa

11 March 2021

International Womens Day event Monday 8th of March 2021, GMB union

We had a fantastic online event on Monday which saw women activists from all sectors joining us to celebrate the achievements of women and recognise the contribution and sacrifices made.

The event was opened by regional secretary Paul McCarthy who welcomed everyone to the event and to show support and solidarity on international Women's Day. The event was chaired by Margaret Gregg and Jayne Davies and we had many wonderful speakers.

We were absolutely thrilled to be joined by Gail Newsham, author of the fantastic book on the history of Dick Kerr Ladies football team entitled In A League Of Their Own. Gail gave us an insight into womens football at the early part of the 20th century and the most talked about member of the team, Lily Parr. Gail was joined by Steve Bolton who's granny Lizzy Ashcroft had also played for Dick Kerr Ladies, both were interviewed by professor Peter Millward and a brilliant panel discussion took place. It really was amazing to hear how popular women's football was back in the 1920s and how women's football almost disappeared during the middle of the 20th century. It's great to see that women's football today is increasing in popularity again, with many of the todays women footballers becoming household names, and not before time.

We were joined by Sonya Flint who runs Tramway's which helps people who are homeless and in need of emergency accommodation. Sonya told us about some of the women who turned up at Tramway's with only the clothes they were standing in. Some have turned up pregnant or with children but have had to leave their previous dwelling in a hurry, sometimes in fear for their lives, so have had no chance to pack any belongings. Sonya asked if the region would be able to assist in providing toiletries, clothing etc to help those who arrive with absolutely nothing. This is something the women's network will be supporting and we will be asking branches if they would like to donate so that we can buy the essentials that are required.

Rebecca ball joined us from Simpson solicitors and gave us a brief update on legislation changes and how they would impact on women in the workplace and in the community.

The Women activists shared their own stories of working and caring throughout the pandemic. Many of our women members are key workers and have had to continue working with the public throughout. We had activists in care, health, social work, retail, schools, engineering and transport taking part, as well as those who have been furloughed, have worked from home, have been home schooling or taken on extra caring responsibilities. This was an opportunity for these women to have their own voices heard and to be recognised for the contribution they have made.

The online event was a success, although a muted mic is no substitute for networking over a cuppa, hopefully it won’t be too much longer until we can have those face to face conversations again, learning from each others skills and shared experiences. Until then, we’ll see you on our next Teams meeting.

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