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International Women's Day 2019

International Women’s Day 2019

International Women’s Day is an important part of the TG calendar, providing an opportunity for Members across the country to renew friendships as well as hearing a variety of speakers. This year our event took place in Derby.

Our first speaker was Jane Robinson, whose book “Hearts and Minds” tells the story of the Great March of 1913. This had been touched on in the Townswoman for Summer 2018 but Jane and the book have so much more to add.

Jane began by explaining the background to the march, how the suffragists began to organise in the 1860s because they felt they had a voice that was not being heard. She also explained that suffragette was a derogatory term applied by a reporter to belittle the women but that the name was adopted by Emmeline Pankhurst to be used by her band of more militant suffragists. As the militants became increasingly violent the NUWSS lead by Millicent Fawcett sought a way to remind the public of their more peaceful presence.

The march set off from the extremities of Great Britain and converged eventually, at a rally of 50,000 women in Hyde Park. Jane told us about various aspects of the journey, including the violence and hardship the Women faced, and reminded us that the marchers were ordinary women like us. She also reminded us that the NUWSS was the grandmother of TG.

Our second speaker was Shirley Wormsley who spoke of her work as a Street Pastor in Derby. Street Pastors are Christian volunteers who work to support those on the streets on a Friday or Saturday night by listening, caring and helping in a non-judgemental way. Their actions relieve the pressure on the NHS and free the Police for more important matters and help make the Town Centre a calmer, safer environment www.streetpastors.org. The National Chairman suggested that local street pastors would be of great interest to Guilds as speakers.

The final speaker was Valerie Leivers who spoke about her India, a country of great contrasts with haves and have-nots living side by side. Val has spent the last 12 years working through Rotary International to raise funds for projects in India to improve lives in the way the individual needs, with a particular focus on providing education for the poorest. By spending several months each year in the country Val has worked to make sure no money lines the wrong pockets. She buys locally and provides employment for the locals. Find out more about Val’s work at www.facebook.com/IndiaUnseenValandTerry

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