In this guest blog, Flavie Vial and Jean McKendree from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) tell us about their recent Suffrage Flag relay event and the decision of the APHA to nominate The Equality Trust as their chosen charity, for which we are very honoured and grateful. We would like to extend our huge thanks to Flavie, Jean and the APHA as well as our wonderful volunteer, Jenny Jacobs, who represented us on the day.
The Suffrage Flag Relay was organised by HM Government to mark 100 years since the passing of the Representation of the People Act in 1918 which gave all men over 21 and some women, those aged over 30 and property owners, the right to vote. Over the course of the year, the flag has visited over 40 organisations around the UK. During their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Week, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) based in Sand Hutton just outside York hosted the Suffrage Flag and held a packed programme of events to mark the suffrage movement and to promote equality in the workplace. The day was organised by Flavie Vial, a statistician at the National Wildlife Management Centre at Sand Hutton, and the flag was personally delivered by Clare Moriarty, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
An important decision to be made was to choose the charity for fundraising efforts on the day. The Equality Trust was chosen because of its commitment to promoting equality for everyone in society in the UK which seemed a very appropriate theme for the day. Jenny Jacobs, representing The Equality Trust, was kind enough to raise the Suffrage Flag and open the day with some very appropriate remarks about progress made and work still to be done.
During the rest of day, there were talks from a range of inspired speakers on the role of women scientists during the First World War (Prof Patricia Fara, University of Cambridge), the gender lens in STEM (Dr Julie Lane, APHA), actions for addressing the gender balance in STEM (Dave Gibbs, National STEM Learning Centre), 100 years of women in trade unions (Rose Willis, PROSPECT Union), the history of York suffragists and suffragettes (Mike Waters, local historian) and an inspiring reflection on the day’s events and the issues it raised for the future (Prof Joanna De Groot, University of York). In the atrium, there were impressive displays by a team of volunteers raising awareness about topics such as the Gender Pay Gap, the timeline of women’s suffrage around the world, actions for everyday equality in the workplace and the local history of suffrage movement in York. Importantly, there was also a music quiz and a bake/craft sale which raised over £280 for the Equality Trust!
The event was praised by everyone who attended the talks – and enjoyed the cakes – and the Suffrage Centenary Volunteer Team was awarded the Championing Gender Equality Award in this year’s Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Awards. We are very proud of the award, the awareness raising that the Suffrage Flag has spurred, and the opportunity to raise funds for the important cause of equality as reflected so well in the mission of The Equality Trust.
Flavie Vial and Jean McKendree (APHA)