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CANCELLED Women of Westminster: Rachel Reeves with Diane Abbott and Diane Atkinson

September 4, 2019 @ 19:00 - 21:00

Women of Westminster - Rachel Reeves
Women of Westminster - Rachel Reeves

Join us as we welcome Rachel Reeves, author of WOMEN OF WESTMINSTER: THE MPS WHO CHANGED POLITICS,  for a discussion of the achievements of women in Parliament over the last century. Joining Rachel in conversation will be Diane Abbott and Diane Atkinson.


In 1919 Nancy Astor was elected as the Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton, becoming the first woman MP to take her seat in the House of Commons. Her achievement was all the more remarkable given that women (and even then only some women) had only been entitled to vote for just over a year.

In the past 100 years, a total of 489 women have been elected to Parliament. Yet it was not until 2015 that the total number of women ever elected surpassed the number of male MPs in a single parliament. The achievements of these political pioneers have been remarkable – Britain has now had two female Prime Ministers and women MPs have made significant strides in fighting for gender equality from the earliest suffrage campaigns to Barbara Castle's fight for equal pay to Harriet Harman's recent legislation on the gender pay gap. Yet the stories of so many women MPs have too often been overlooked in political histories. In this book, Rachel Reeves brings many forgotten MPs out of the shadows and looks at the many battles fought by the Women of Westminster, from 1919 to 2019.

Featuring insightful and honest interviews with leading women from Theresa May, Dianne Abbot to Harriet Harman, Rachel Reeves MP celebrates the inspirational achievements of women in parliament over the course of the past 100 years.

RISE UP, WOMEN! by Diane Atkinson

From their marches on Parliament and 10 Downing Street, to the selling of their paper, through to the more militant activities of the Women's Social and Political Union, whose slogan 'Deeds Not Words!' resided over bombed pillar-boxes, as well as acts of arson and the slashing of great works of art; the women who participated in the movement endured police brutality, assault, imprisonment and force-feeding, all in the relentless pursuit of one goal: the right to vote.

Diane Atkinson celebrates the lives of the women who answered the call to 'Rise Up'; a richly diverse group of actresses and mill-workers, teachers and doctors, bootmakers and sweated workers. Rise Up, Women! brings these women to life in a stirring celebration of their grace, resilience and determination that changed the world forever.

Rachel Reeves is the Labour MP for Leeds West. Between 2010-2015, Reeves served on the opposition frontbench as Shadow Pensions Minister, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Following the 2015 general election, Reeves joined the Treasury Select Committee and in July last year was elected Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee.

Diane Abbott is the Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington. In 1987 she was the first black woman elected to Parliament, and is now the longest serving black MP in the House of Commons. Throughout her career, Diane has championed global justice, human rights, peace and security issues at home and abroad. She has been a vocal campaigner around race-relations, transparency and justice around policing, surveillance, Stop and Search, and detainment without trial. Since 2016 she has served as Shadow Home Secretary.

Diane Atkinson is the author of two illustrated history books, Suffragettes in Pictures and Funny Girls: Cartooning for Equality, and three biographies, Love & Dirt, Elsie and Mairi Go to War and The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton. A regular lecturer on the suffragettes at conferences and literary festivals, Diane Atkinson has also appeared on radio programmes including Woman's Hour, and has consulted on numerous television documentaries, as well as, most recently, the film Suffragette.


September 4, 2019
19:00 - 21:00
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Pages of Hackney
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