Events of the past and present should inspire all women and girls

IWD (2)

Sara Radcliffe

“Events of the past and present should inspire all women and girls”

Sara Radcliffe, Joint Accountable Officer at NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), reflects on the events that motivate her to mark International Women’s Day and week.

First of all, I’d like to wish all our Trafford and Greater Manchester health and social care colleagues – and our residents – a happy international women’s week. I hope you were able to mark International Women’s Day on Tuesday (8 March) in a way that felt appropriate for you.

It’s always a time of year when we can reflect on what we have achieved and what we can still do. For me, looking back on the monumental events of 1908 when thousands of women and men rallied in Manchester to hold the Great Demonstration to give women the vote, which wasn’t gained until 1918 for some and 1928 for all, underlines our need to also show support to other women and girls at home and around the world (including in Afghanistan and Ukraine).

On a personal level, I had the real honour and pleasure to provide an introduction and speech at Parkrun on Saturday (5 March) to celebrate International Women’s Day.

This was at Alexandra Park in Moss Side – my home Parkrun – one of the most historic, iconic and important parks for the women’s movement. Emmeline Pankhurst, who started the Women’s Social and Political Union which became known as the suffragettes, was born yards from the park. She brought up her family in Nelson Street, a mile from the park, including her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, who went on to be suffragette leaders in their own right.

Around 250 people walked, jogged and ran at Alexandra Parkrun. Parkruns around the country were supporting International Women’s Day and the ‘This Girl Can’ movement, a campaign to stop women and girls feeling judged when they exercise. It really doesn’t matter what you look like, or what you wear – it is about finding something you love doing and having fun, which is what Parkrun is all about.

I also joined thousands of women on the Walk for Women march through Manchester city centre on Sunday to make some noise in true Manchester fashion (I was banging a pan!) It felt special to celebrate the women and girls who have walked this road before us and campaigned for equality, and we raised our voices for the ones who will come after us. This year, we were all thinking of those women and girls who have suffered through the pandemic but also for the women and girls of Afghanistan and the women and girls of Ukraine.

People may think that marching doesn’t make a difference but maybe we need to think back to 1908, and our local park, and maybe reflect that sometimes it really does.

Posted on Wednesday 9th March 2022