Challenge and Change: a brief history of women councillors in Yorkshire and the Humber

The history of women in Parliament is reasonably well known, at least in its outline, but that of women in local government is in danger of being forgotten at best and in places entirely lost. The Campaign for Women and Democracy felt that that this should not be allowed to happen, and that the struggles and achievements of generations of political and municipal women should be recorded and preserved.

Accordingly, in September 2010, and with generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, they set about exploring both the past and the present of women councillors in Yorkshire.

Over the course of a year they interviewed councillors past and present and explored archives. Everywhere they found women whose contribution to their communities, towns and cities was inestimable, women who led campaigns and took on unpopular causes and vested interests, women who supported their communities through crises and great events, and women who worked quietly and with dedication (and hardly any recognition) for the communities they served.

The exhibition visiting Hull History Centre from 6th to 30th March is one of the results of this project – providing a real insight into women's involvement in local government over nearly a century

As Winifred Wheable-Archer, one of the interviewees, said: “I am a great advocate of people knowing their history because if you know the history it informs what you ought to be doing and what you ought to be understanding.”

 

Further information is available on Centre for Women & Democracy website at: http://www.cfwd.org.uk/yorkshire-women-councillors