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Blue plaque to be unveiled for Normanton-born MP Alice Bacon as part of International Women’s Day celebrations

Alice Bacon
Alice Bacon

International Women’s Day on March 8 celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world.

The day, which has occurred for well over a century, also marks a call for action to speed up gender equality - and the theme for this year’s day is #PressforProgress.

Baroness Bacon Beer. Pic courtesy of Steve Williams

Baroness Bacon Beer. Pic courtesy of Steve Williams

Sarah Cobham, who is leading the Forgotten Women of Wakefield project says it is still important and still needed.

“It’s important because we live in an era of increasing inequalities, wealth and resources which affect women exponentially and we continue to witness a frightening backlash against women’s rights gained to date.

“It’s important because some issues remain stubbornly unchanged - it will take 80 years at the current voting rate for women to be equally represented in UK parliament - whilst other issues around glass ceiling technology, social media representation and historic sex abuse need to be challenged and changed.”

Wakefield Council and the Forgotten Women of Wakefield project have organised an event to celebrate Yorkshire’s first female MP Normanton-born Alice Bacon on International Women’s Day. It will also mark the 100 year anniversary of the first women in our country - those over the age of 30 - getting the right to vote, with the 1918 Representation of the People Act.

Merran McRae

Merran McRae

Wakefield Council’s chief executive Merran McRae said: “Alice was born into a world where she was unable to vote and became a prominent MP and campaigner for social reform.

“She lived her life in the Wakefield district and this event celebrates her inspirational achievements as part of International Women’s Day.

“The year also marks 100 years since women were able to vote. Let’s celebrate the achievements of all the inspirational women that fought to make this happen.”

The event will take place on Thursday, March 8, from 10am until 2pm.

MP Rachel Reeves

MP Rachel Reeves

In the morning, members of the Forgotten Women of Wakefield Project will bring Alice’s story to life through a drama performance and spoken word.

This will run alongside a Poets in Poll Booths session - local poets Simon Widdop, Genevive Walsh and Valerie Anderson Gaskill will be writing and performing poems on the spot based on ‘polling slips’ handed to them with information from visitors.

MP Rachel Reeves, who wrote Alice in Westminster: The Political Life of Alice Bacon, will give a talk about Dame Alice in the Wakefield Library Learning Zone at noon.

And at 12.45pm, a blue plaque will be unveiled to honour Alice. Wakefield MP Mary Creagh and Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper will take part in the event.

The plaque will later be moved to the outside wall of Normanton Library outside wall and an event is being planned for its launch there over the coming months.

Later on International Women’s Day, The Hopetown Liberal Club in Normanton will play its role in the celebrations.

A new ale - The Baroness Bacon Beer, will be launched there in her memory.

People are invited to toast Alice and her achievements and sample the beer at the club from 7.30pm that evening.