Feminista Film Festival 2020

Thanks to Godalming Film Society for screening, “Feminista” – a documentary film special to mark International Women’s Day 2020.Thanks also to Godalming College for hosting this very well attended event.It was a great privilege to be there and to watch such inspiring and challenging films.
We must never take our rights and freedoms for granted. We must continue to stand up for equality and justice for all.

Thank you for inviting me to be here today, to mark International Women’s Day.

As a female Mayor I can tell you that we oft go places and folk greet Mr Rivers first assuming that he is the Mayor.

The films we are going to see will challenge us. It is still necessary to work for women and their rights in 2020. I read an article this week about the search for a vaccine for Covid 19. I had not realised that all medicines are formulated for men and not even adapted for women.  The playing field never has been and still is not level.

In that olde Garden of Eden Eve got the blame – plus ca change plus ca meme chose.
But, may I tell you about two women who inspire me?

At the age of 11 I went to boarding school in England. Before that I attended school in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and my teacher and the school’s Head Teacher was Miss Edith Anne Spence. She was a black woman and it was significantly unusual for a woman, let alone a black woman, to be a Headteacher in those days. She made us stand tall and look the world directly in the face and take on whatever came and look out for those we need to help. She wanted us to know that we were completely wonderful but no more wonderful than the next person. Miss Edith Anne Spence at about 5’ 3 stood tall

When, after 2 sons, we had a daughter, we named her Edith Anne. Our Edith needed glasses and she was dyslexic.  She opted to be a Cub not a Brownie and she is the very first girl in the world to become a Sixer. She attended GodCol and when she filled out her Uni applications she applied for the (then) much mocked Media but in one case mistakenly wrote “ME” – Mechanical Engineering and was interviewed and she was offered a place.  After her Media degree her first job was as a Runner and she was told that if she worked extraordinarily hard, maybe in time she might just become a Head Runner. She was Head Runner within the year and then Junior Producer and is now a Senior Producer for a post production company and can cope with so much more than I ever could. Edith Anne Rivers at nearly 6 feet high stands tall.

We all stand on the shoulders and sacrifices of those before us and today I am wearing the Suffragette brooches given to me by my Mother-in-law.

Sisters, we must not take our rights and freedoms for granted and we must also recognise that many, many men are our feminist friends and companions and we stand together for each other!

So, sisters and brothers, let us speak up – stand up for equality and justice for all – each for equal. An equal world is an enabled world – onward, together!

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