Bread and roses: International Women’s Day Awards

Susie Stubbs

Cast your vote for Manchester’s finest on International Women’s Day.

Eighty-six years ago, if you weren’t the one wearing the trousers in your house, chances are you wouldn’t have been able to vote. It’s a shameful fact that women in this country were only afforded the same voting rights as men in 1928. Think about it for a moment: 1928. My grandmother was born without the right to vote. We’re talking recent history here, folks.

And that’s precisely the point of International Women’s Day. For as many of us who now happily take the right to vote for granted, there are thousands more who are denied that right. For as many of us who are happy in our workplace, there are hundreds more who are discriminated against simply because they are a woman (or because they have the bloody cheek – the audacity – to go and get themselves knocked up). And we all know which gender is suffering the most under the current government’s swingeing cuts, don’t we? So although International Women’s Day is over 100 years old, it is an event that remains as relevant as ever. We’ve come a long way, ladies, but we have much further to go.

We’ll be exercising our democratic rights when it comes to these awards – and you should, too

In Manchester, then, it’s good to see the City Council doing its bit with its International Women’s Day Awards. These awards highlight those women who, in fields as diverse as science, business and culture, continue to champion the female cause. It makes sense for the city to set up such awards. This is, after all, the birthplace not only of universal suffrage but of the Suffragettes. And this is a city that does have a fair few women at the top, too, women such as Maria Balshaw, Director of both the Manchester and Whitworth art galleries, or Jean Franczyk and Katy Archer, directors of MOSI and the People’s History Museum respectively, or even the awesome Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, the first ever female Vice Chancellor of The University of Manchester.

We think any celebration of their achievements, and of the other women making a difference to our city, is A Very Good Thing. So we’ll be exercising our democratic rights when it comes to these awards and nominating someone to receive one – and you should, too. Nominations close this Friday (25 January). Vote(s) for women!

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