Women Of Today Event A Huge Success
For the past three years the CWU’s Northwest Regional Women’s Committee (NWRWC) have hosted an event titled ‘Women of Today’.
So begins the report from North West Region's Women's Officer, Karen Bosson following a very successful event which saw 70 women and one or two men gather together to celebrate Women of Today.
Here Karen provides her report on the event:
The day started with tea and coffee and everyone receiving a ‘goodie bag’ from the NWRWC which included a folder with an outline of the day, information on the speakers, a feedback form, Unionline and UIA information and a few freebies.
The first speaker was Carol Scheffer, a fulltime National Officer for the CWU Republic of Ireland who specialises in the area of Equality and Diversity and is also on the Executive Board of UNI Europa Global Union. Carol spoke about some of the issues currently affecting female members of the CWU ROI and gave a fascinating journey through some of the women activists who’ve played a big part in the history of the ROI’s.
One woman Carol spoke about was Baroness Constance Markievicz who was active in the Irish suffragette movement and a militant women’s organisation. She worked closely with the labour leaders, James Larkin and James Connolly and during the 1913 Dublin Lockout, worked tirelessly to provide food for the workers’ families. Two years later she helped organise and train the Irish Citizen Army.
Next on the Agenda was Lynn Collins Regional Secretary of the Northwest Trade Union Congress (NWTUC) and the first woman to hold the position.
Lynn gave an overview of some of the amazing experiences she had as NWTUC Secretary including travelling the world and meeting well known people.
Lynn recognised Betty Tebbs a local activist for women’s rights and a peace campaigner who had died three days earlier at the age of 98.
Becky Weller, a telecoms engineer with Openreach, which is part of the BT Group, was next to tell us her story about how she became an engineer and what her working life entails.
Becky had many in the room laughing at the stories she told of her days out on the road in her van and the reactions that some people had shown towards her.
Kathy Devlin from Merseyside based organisation Beacon Counselling Trust was our next speaker who brought tears to some eyes when she told the story of her brother’s death and how it had influenced her work.
Kathy gave an overview of what areas the Trust can help with and focused on the issue of Women’s Gambling which is an area that Beacon specialise in. She gave us figures indicating that there are nearly 600,000 people currently classed as having problems with gambling in the UK and that the number of women within that is rising.
Bexi Owen, the ‘Singing, swinging showgirl’ then talked to us about her ‘Forget Me Never’ project which was initially started with the help of crowd funding.
Bexi involved everyone in a sing-a-long to Que Sera Sera (whatever will be will be) which lifted everyone’s spirits before lunch.
After lunch, we welcomed the incredible Comedian and writer Francesca Martinez who had us all howling with laughter at the descriptions of her experiences and take on life.
This was followed by a question and answer session where Francesca was very open and straightforward about her political beliefs and motivation.
Francesca is known to many from her younger days as a cast member of BBC1s Grange Hill and she has appeared on TV many, many times as a commentator and entertainer.
To finish off the day we had a panel discussion led by CWU national Equality Officer Linda Roy where questions were asked form the floor and the panellists answered with their own views.
Lynne’s background is in Education and Children’s Services and she has extensive experience in the field of Educational Welfare and Child Protection.
Plus Clare Drummond a Royal Mail postal worker who is a workplace Sub-rep, is her Branch’s Equality Officer, Chairs the NWRWC and sits on the Women's Advisory Committee (WAC).
You can download biography document of all the guest speakers in PDF format here
Numerous pictures were taken at the event - here is just a few:
Source: Karen Bosson