Sunday, 11 March 2018

Women’s International Day at the Stiwt, Rhosllanerchrugog.

This was my opening address at the Women’s International Day held at the Stiwt, Rhosllanerchrugog, on the 8th March 2018:

Pnawn da a chroeso i chi gyd yma i’r Stiwt i ddathlu Diwrnod Rhyngwladol y Menywod, yn union gan mlynedd ar ol pasio deddfwriaeth roddodd y bleidlais i bob dyn ac ambell i ferch dros 30. Proses a dim digwyddiad tuag at gyfartaledd oedd y ddeddfwriaeth hanesyddol yny, a da ni’n dal ar y siwrna hir.

Good afternoon and welcome to the Stiwt, an unbeatable location with a radical and progressive past for us to celebrate International Women’s Day. This year we are celebrating the success of the Suffragette movement, in their partial victory in getting some women and ALL men the vote, a 100 years ago and to borrow Ron Davies’s description of devolution, gender equality is a process not an event; and trust me, we have some way to go until we achieve 50/50 participation, respect and equal sharing of power.

We all remember the names that will be screened later, Emily Pankhurst and the tragic Emily Davidson, but there are others whose names have been forgotten. One in particular, Kitty Marion who had links with Wrexham. One of Kitty’s many arrests was at the 1912 National Eisteddfod in Wrexham, when she had the audacity to heckle Wales’s hero, the Chanchellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, whilst he was in full flow. Less than 6 months later, the Suggragettes had bombed Lloyd George’s partially built summer home in Surrey. It is quite ironic that the first Welsh female MP was in fact his daughter, Megan Lloyd George in 1928.

Kitty Marion was undeterred by her numerous arrests and the fact that she was forcibly fed on more than 200 occasions whilst in prison.

After the war, Kitty Marion emigrated to the US, where she was arrested a further 9 occasions for encouraging women to use birth control and she was instrumental in establishing the first birth control clinic in the US.

She was a lady worthy of being remembered.

Fel gwleidydd lleol dwi a diddordeb mewn cynyddu y nifer o fenywod mewn byways cyhoeddus yng Nghymru. Allan o’r 22 Cyngor yng Nghymru dim on 28% o Gynghorwyr sydd yn fenywod a phedair Arweinydd a chwech dirprwy arweinyddion. Dydy y sefyllfa yma ddim yn normal; mae angen cynrychiolaeth mewn bywyd cyhoeddus sydd yn gyfartal ar ganran yn y boblogaeth, sef 50/50.

Mae y gyngres yn yr Ariannin sydd a deddfwriaeth fel fod dynion a menywod a chyfartaledd ar un cyfleuoedd o gael ei hethol

As a local politician I am very interested in increasing women’s participation in public life and to
address the woefully low numbers of females in public life in Wales where representation is best described as ‘male, stale and pale’ and that includes Wrexham Council who has one female cabinet member out of 10. Only 20% of Councillors in Wrexham are female even though we make up 50% of the population. The picture across Wales is slightly better but only 4 Council’s out of 22 have female leaders.

Every year we celebrate International Women’s Day with a different theme and this year it is to Press For Progress and we all need to undertake to do something to bring about gender equality, or as we say on St David’s Day “Gwnewch y pethau bychain”or do the little things which when brought together brings about social change.

For myself I intend to campaign for gender equality in public life by questioning the lack of women’s participation, nominate women for public positions, aim for a goal of 50/50 gender balance and and finally to create a more inclusive opportunities especially changes in legislation to ensure gender balance in election lists. If they can have gender parity in Argentina there is no reason why we can’t
do it in Wales.

I am going to finish off with a quote from Sian Gwenllian who is an inspiration herself having been widowed in her early thirties with four young children. She became involved in local politics and was a County Councillor and Deputy Leader before being elected an Assembly member for Arfon.

“This International Women’s Day we should commit to create a a Wales where sexual harrassment and domestic abuse is outlawed and where workplace and pay inequalities are not tolerated and where women and men can follow their ambitions and dreams, free from the constraints of the gender straightjackets imposed on us for far too long.

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