RACHAEL HOYLE BRADWELL CITY DWELLER COLUMNIST PICKS A FEW OF THE COUNTLESS WOMEN THAT HAVE HELPED SHAPE THE WORLD
As a busy store manager for a women’s fashion retailer and devoted mummy to the beautiful Sasha (doggie), I like to spend my spare time sticking my nose where it don’t belong, an irrepressible nosey parker in everyone’s business. A food fanatic, I had the good sense to marry a wonderful caterer, so my future is looking decidedly on the wrong side of cuddly. When not balancing work, eating, and keeping my wife happy, you’ll find me enjoying a cider at Queen’s Court.
On the 8th March this day is dedicated to all women, as it is National Women’s Day. As an independent woman myself, I like to count my blessings that it’s 2018 and I live in a pretty liberal country without fear of judgement or control. National Women’s Day encourages us all to stop and consider the efforts of countless women of the past who fought for our rights today, and for those who are still living a much different, less free life. We are familiar with our legendary sisters of the past who tied themselves to railings and suffered awful abuse for things we take for granted these days, but what about our local Leeds lasses? The ghosts of wonderful bravery walk echo back today, and Leeds in 2018 has a lot to be proud of. Here are some of of our wonderful trailblazers, who have in their own way, changed our world.
Betty Boothroyd – the first, and to date, the only female speaker of the House of Commons, became a national institution by way of her unyielding strength and sticking to her strong Northern roots.
Sue Ryder – Primarily known for creating the Sue Ryder charity, she was also the Baroness of Warsaw, and was involved in the war effort at only 15. She supported war refugees and in later life built up a network of care homes in the UK. Unfortunately her anti-gay ideas would be pretty unpopular in the New Penny today, she is still a legend in my book.
Helen Fielding – the creator of the eponymous Bridget Jones who became the unofficial role model for a generation of women with her hilarious love-life. Fielding has won countless awards for her writing, and is considered one of our best writers. An Oxford graduate with book sales exceeding 15 million, she started her life in Morley, and whilst we won’t hold it against her, hasn’t looked back and now shares her time between London and Los Angeles.
Nicola (The ‘Lioness’) Adams – A modern trailblazer of women who became the first female medal winner at Boxing at the olympics. An openly bisexual women, Nicola is the only openly LGBT person to win a gold medal. She continues to push boundaries as she sets new records. She received an OBE in 2017.
Judi Dench – An absolute legend, and maybe not quite a bona fide Leeds lass, but York being close enough to claim as our own, Judi proves that film is nothing without her in it. Winning 6 BAFTAs and an Oscar, Judi started her career at the theatre and moved into TV and cinema. An honorary graduate from Leeds university, she maintains her links to her roots.
To mark the centenary of women’s right to vote, Kirkstall Abbey House Museum has opened an exhibit of such local women who showed incredible heroism and determination to push through barriers and paved the way for women to become whatever they wanted and inspire the generations that followed.