Women take it to the bridge
8th March 2012
CWU members responded to the call of International Women's
Day and joined 'Women on the Bridge' in London today, to
celebrate the strength of women and call for justice, peace and
Members of the union's Women's Advisory Committee (WAC)
gathered at the Millennium Bridge, waving CWU flags and joining
thousands of others, including celebrities and activists like
Cherie Blair, Bianca Jagger and Kathy Lette, to show solidarity and
CWU equality officer Linda Roy (pictured
being interviewed) said she was hugely inspired by the event and
the memory of great figures of the past, like Mary Macarthur and
Emmeline Pankhurst, but she also stressed that there is much yet to
do: "Women around the world are still being tortured and
beaten in countries such as Afghanistan - there is so much
brutality towards women. We are here to show our sisters around the
world that we're here, standing with them."
WAC Chair Jean Sharrocks said: "This
is about women coming together, all over this country and all over
the world, to demand their rights. We are going backwards in this
country now. All the cuts that this Government is making are
hitting women and children the hardest."
A flock of white doves was released from the bridge as a symbol
of peace and then more than two thousand people marched, holding
white balloons, to the Royal Festival Hall. Along the way the chant
went up, "Unite! No war! No fight! Women unite!"
Once there, they listened to a range of speakers invited
by event organisers, Women for Women. Bianca
Jagger (left) spoke powerfully about the need to declare
"a non-violent war in order to protect women's
rights" and she stressed that "we cannot afford to be
apathetic", even in this country. She said: "We call
ourselves a developed country, but we've only had one female
prime minister. And how many women are in the Cabinet? We cannot
afford to be apathetic... for the sake of our daughters and
However, she stressed that the situation is far worse in parts
of the world, where women suffer terrible violence and where rape
is used as a weapon of war, saying: "Women across the world
need our support."
Cherie Blair (right) argued that economic
empowerment is the key to improving the lives of women in the
developing world. She also acknowledged that in this country we
still have some way to go: we do not have equal pay, women still
hit a glass ceiling in the workplace and are scarce in the
Other speakers included writer Kathy Lette, who
refuted any claim that all is well in the post-feminist world in
which we now live and announced emphatically that: "The
post-feminist has kept her bra and burned her brains!"
Dr Helen and Laura Pankhurst, the descendants of Emmeline Pankhurst, described how far the cause of women had come and yet how far there was still to go: it was no longer about the vote in this country, but about changing the culture.
View the day in pictures below and find us on Facebook for even more stunning shots of the day!