|Dr Melanie Reynolds, Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes, began the evening with a talk about her research into this unique strike, it's historical context and the way in which it fundamentally shaped the course of trade union history. Dr Reynolds spoke enthusiastically on how the strike shaped the role of women in trade unions; how the brave women of West Yorkshire were partly the instigators of 'New Unionism'; and how this strike can be a model, and indeed a lesson, for us today in our industrial activities.
Paula Sherriff MP spoke about the experiences of women in today's trade union and labour movement, including her own experience as a Labour MP. She reflected on the significant progress made on women's equality in and outside of the workplace, but stressed that the fight was not yet finished.
Harriet Eisner, Unite the Union officer and chair of the event, announced the launch of the TUC's Women in Leadership programme, which is to run throughout 2018-9 and include visits to both the UK and Brussels Parliaments. From public speaking and leadership styles to communication skills and workshops on women’s rights, the course will involve meeting and networking with influential women trade union leaders and decision-makers, as well as getting to know like-minded women from different unions. Harriet made clear the importance of the programme and its aims: to empower more women trade unionists to step into leadership roles and continue to create positive changes in their workplaces, their union and in society.