Last week I attended two fantastic events run by Cohort 4 to celebrate 100 years since some women got the vote. These were funded by the Government’s Women’s & Equality Committee as part of the Centenary of the women’s vote small funding for small women’s organisations across the UK. At Cohort 4, we are a small women’s organisation in North Warwickshire, women coming together to support each other.
The first event was a film night where the women of Cohort 4 sat and watched the Suffragette film and had a group meal. This was brilliant as we giggled together, shared experiences and watched the film, which really made you feel proud to be a woman. Some of the group members got emotional by this, as it made them think of their own experiences. However, overall it was a perfect evening and allowed us to all get together in a safe, non judgemental environment and to discuss what we had seen. All who attended had a lovely evening; we even painted our nails purple.
Our celebrations continued as on Friday we had afternoon tea and a lecture about the History of Women’s Equality by the inspiring Dr Ruth Jones OBE. It was a wonderful event, we decorated the hall in suffrage colours and fabulous hand made bunting. Suffragette posters were put on display along with case studies of Suffragettes from our area. Around 25 community members attended. It was nice to see everyone chatting and enjoying the most delicious afternoon tea, where I noticed the suffrage coloured macaroons went down a treat!
After lunch we enjoyed a presentation and workshop from Ruth, who talked us through women’s history and the disadvantages and restrictions they had to adhere to. Ruth so articulately discussed socialisation for both genders, and this gave us of a great understanding how difficult it is for women in a patriarchal society. Initially we had to discuss why we like being a women which quite a few of us found difficult.
Ruth discussed women’s rights and how we have been oppressed in all areas of life – from education and religion to work. It made me particularly angry how a woman was seen as a man’s property. Active debates were held throughout the session. Finally, we discussed where we are today and what we need to change if we are to achieve equality in all areas of life. I really enjoyed myself and found the lecture interesting and thought provoking.
Cohort 4 celebrations have made the difference to how I think about women’s rights and makes me want to challenge patriarchy even more. The events we have enjoyed have been both fun and thought provoking and the people who I spoke to who really got a lot from it and went away realising how far we have come in society and how much luckier we are compared to the past history of others.
Sarah, Project Lead