Today is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate and promote gender equality among women and girls. To mark the occasion women paraded through the streets of Hereford City on Sunday in the same style as the suffragettes.
Wearing the traditional colours of green and violet, holding placards and posters, suffragettes would hold demonstrations to fight for women’s rights in the late 19th century and earl 20th century. The movement was crucial in changing society’s view of women’s rights, and still has much importance today.
Activists Clare Wichbold and Lin Mathias organised the parade on Sunday to raise awareness around these issues and continue the spirit of the suffragettes. The inspiringly large turnout marched through High Town, beginning at 2pm, wearing the same colours and bearing placards reminiscent of those seen in the suffragette movement.
The Parade began at Hereford Cathedral, where The Very Reverend Sarah Brown gave a speech to kick off the movement. Elena Rodriguez-Falcon from NMITE gave a speech highlighting the importance of equality in the workplace around the Bull Statue near the Black & White House, before the parade went on through Maylord Street, Widemarsh Street, the Old Market, Edgar Street, and finally to The Courtyard. There, Jo Anderson – the chief executive of West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (WMRASC), gave a speech to end the parade.
Jo Anderson emphasised the need for investment from the Government to continue their amazing service, as it has unfortunately made the difficult decision to close its waiting list for survivors of rape and sexual violence from a lack of funds. Small figurines were on sale to support WMRASC, with people encouraged to write the name of an inspirational woman on them and place them near the theatre building.
Mayor of Hereford Paul Stevens, and Former Mayor of Hereford Cllr Kath Hey attended the parade. “It was incredibly inspiring to see everyone who attended the Poster Parade on Sunday.” Cllr Hey said, “A huge thankyou must be given to Lin Mathias and Clare Wichbold for spearheading this important event, and also to all those who gave speeches and helped organise and participate. It’s a fantastic feeling to know we have so much support for causes that promote women and girls in our community.”
It’s positively motivating to see these important issues highlighted in our City, and we give a big congratulations to those who organised and joined in the parade. Increasing visibility and calling out inequality is key in moving forward, and we wholeheartedly support this collective action!