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International Women’s Day

Carol McGregor, Katie Lang, Helen Day and President Pat

To mark International Women’s Day, SI Crieff invited members of local women’s groups to join them last Thursday evening (7 March) in Strathearn Artspace for a social get-together, enjoy a glass of wine and nibbles and to hear two speakers and a local choir, all of whom took ‘women’ as their theme.
Janice Wilson briefly explained the principles of Soroptimism – to strive for the advancement of the status of women, high ethical standards, equality, development and the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace.
Janice introduced the first speaker, Carol McGregor, who gave an interesting outline of her charitable work. She explained how her training as an audio describer for theatregoers with impaired vision began at Perth Theatre but then extended into a number of other theatres and cinemas across the country bringing great pleasure and enjoyment to many. This indirectly led to her involvement with Sightsavers, a role which has taken her to Bangladesh, Pakistan and Malawi where Carol witnessed the amazing and almost instant transformation for young and old after treatment by Sightsavers for the removal of cataracts. She gave a heart rending description of one young boy’s reaction to seeing his father for the first time and how he was unable to stop touching his face and beard. Carol explained how difficult it could be for penniless families to attend the treatment centres, in some cases having to sell virtually all their few possessions to pay for the journey. Thankfully, these costs can now sometimes be met by other charities. During her travels, Carol met a number of famous and influential women whom she said she would describe as real ‘international women’ but said she does not consider herself to be amongst them – a statement disputed by those present.
Pat then introduced local Comrie choir, Earnsong, saying they are very special and we were in for a real treat. She was right! The choir entertained everyone beautifully, singing a lovely medley of different and unusual songs and their infectious enthusiasm and repertoire were greatly appreciated.
The final speaker was Helen Day, a popular member of Crieff Drama Group. Helen had looked back through literature over the centuries for evidence of how women had been regarded and treated. With readings from mediaeval times, the Shakespearean era, the 19th century and Robert Browning’s poem My Last Duchess, she concluded in the early 20th century and the days of the Suffragettes. Helen’s choice of readings showed how the treatment of women had progressed from the days when they were regarded virtually as slaves or chattels, possessions of fathers then husbands, to being ‘taken seriously’ and gaining some measure of independence and, though it may be seen as as still ‘a work in progress’, eventually to being regarded as equals.
The speakers and choir were all thanked by President Pat for entertaining everyone to a very enjoyable and thought-provoking evening, recognising that women have come a long way though there may still be a bit to go