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Owner of famous Emily Wilding Davison’s iconic sash to speak at UCLan’s International Women’s Day event

Owner of famous Emily Wilding Davison’s iconic sash to speak at UCLan’s International Women’s Day event  Banner Image

Barbara Gorna one of several speakers at conference on 8 March

A women’s rights campaigner who owns the sash that suffragette Emily Davison famously tried to attach to the King’s horse at the 1913 Derby will visit the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to mark International Women’s Day on the 8 March.

Originally from Chipping and a law graduate from the University’s Lancashire Polytechnic days, Barbara has spent the last 25 years campaigning for women’s rights, including serving on Government Committees. She was the architect of the Sex Discrimination (No.2) Bill which stopped private clubs including golf clubs discriminating against women and is now law.

A rare telegram, in which Queen Alexandra describes Emily Davison as a ‘brutal lunatic’, will be on show at the event.  Barbara will speak about her fascination with Emily Davison, with insights to her character, and the background to the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).

The campaigner will join other speakers including Lancashire human rights activist Saima Afzal MBE and the Chief Executive of Disability North West, Mel Close.

Barbara said: ‘’We still have to fight for equal pay, equal rights and equal visibility in the media."

This year, of course, marks 100 years since women were awarded a limited right to vote and we are hosting a conference celebrating the undoubted bravery and ultimate success of the women of the suffragist movement.

“We will be equal when no one notices whether there is only one woman on the panel because there will be 50% as the norm; when child maintenance is paid promptly and with good grace; when women subject to domestic violence are not forced to leave the home and hide with the children - that’s like giving the burglar your house - when women are not afraid to speak up and speak out like our Suffragette sisters of old; the plucky mill girls in their shawls and clogs (and my great grandmother, grandmother and mother worked in those ‘satanic mills’), then we can say, ‘well done, sister suffragettes’.”

The event has been organised by UCLan principal law lecturer Vivienne Ivins.  It will also examine:

•           The challenges currently faced by disabled women;

•           The experiences of women living with HIV and domestic abuse;

•           The experiences of women in professional sport.

•           How domestic violence affects women at work, hampering their performance, attendance and career development.

Vivienne commented: “I feel very strongly that International Women’s Day should not go unmarked and for many years Lancashire Law School has held events on the 8 March to speak out about women’s rights.

“This year, of course, marks 100 years since women were awarded a limited right to vote and we are hosting a conference celebrating the undoubted bravery and ultimate success of the women of the suffragist movement, but also reflecting on the everyday discrimination and struggles and abuses still faced by women. Our speakers will, therefore, reflect the role played by the strong and determined women of the North West in advancing the principles of equality, whilst raising awareness of the very current issues faced by many.”

The conference will take place 9.30am – 4.30pm in UCLan’s Adelphi Building.  The event is free but attendees need to register via Eventbrite.

Lyndsey Boardman | 26 February 2018