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Mary Gawthorpe
The council’s internal staff network ‘Women’s Voices’ is currently undertaking work to help to identify the key issues and priorities for women in the council, particularly, those women who are employed in lower paid, remote jobs who don’t always get the opportunity to have their voices heard.
To celebrate the centenary of women being given the right to vote, the leader of Leeds City Council is hosting a special commemoration event this week.

The commemoration event, Centenary Cities: 100 Years of Votes for Women, is being held on Friday 9 February at Leeds Civic Hall and is the first of a number of projects this year celebrating 100 years of votes for women, organised by Leeds City Council and funded by the Government Equalities Office.

Media opportunity:

  • When: Friday 9 February at 9:45am
  • Where: Leeds Civic Hall, LS1 1UR
  • Members of the media are invited to attend the Leeds commemoration event for the centenary of votes for women. Interviews will be available with the council leader and other speakers.

The event which will be led and opened by Councillor Judith Blake will have two key themes, including commemorating the Representation of the People Act 1918 which allowed some women to vote for the first time. The event will also provide an opportunity for women from across the city to discuss with key policy makers and service providers the key challenges they still face and give them the opportunity to help to shape the city’s future.

The event will provide an opportunity for women and girls to influence established programmes of activities around women’s issues in the city as well as an opportunity to directly influence service leads within the council on identified priorities for women and girls, and to contribute to the shaping of future services for women and girls. There will also be a ‘market place’ giving public sector and Third Sector organisations the opportunity to display information and promote their services.

The key themes to be discussed on the day are:

  • Safety: Taxi services and women;
  • Employment: Welfare reforms and women and employment opportunities for women and girls;
  • Violence against women: Domestic Violence Breakthrough Project;
  • Health and wellbeing: Mental health services for women;
  • Poverty and Austerity: The city approach to addressing poverty and debt awareness;
  • Transport: Transport and women’s issues;
  • Voice and Influence: Women and girls’ role in influencing the city.

The findings of the discussions will form the basis of an action plan which will complement work which is already underway by Women’s Lives Leeds and the Women’s Voice staff network identifying women’s priorities for the city.

After the main event three mini ‘challenge’ events will take place out in communities, aiming to provide a platform for women and girls to meet their local leaders, influence service delivery and to be empowered to register to vote.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “Whilst recognising this hugely important event in our history we also must acknowledge that our society still has a long way to go before women are truly equal.

“Events like this are one way we can ensure that the voices of women and girls in our city are not only heard but priorities and their views acted upon.

“A range of work is already taking place across the city to ensure that women and girls are empowered to have a greater voice and influence in the city, but there is some much more to do to ensure that as Leeds continues to thrive, the benefits of economic growth are felt by all and not just the few.”

The council’s internal staff network ‘Women’s Voices’ is currently undertaking work to help to identify the key issues and priorities for women in the council, particularly, those women who are employed in lower paid, remote jobs who don’t always get the opportunity to have their voices heard. Central to this is improving how women are able to influence the decision making process and provide mutual support. The council also working in partnership with Women’s Lives Leeds which is a unique partnership of 11 women and girls organisations from across Leeds.