International Women’s Day Soroptimist Conference March 2020 Maidenhead
Theme “Helping Us Achieve Our Potential”
Three Soroptimist Clubs (SI Slough Windsor and Maidenhead, SI Thames Valley and SI High Wycombe and District) joined forces to hold a Conference to celebrate International Women’s day. The theme of the Conference was “Helping Us Achieve Our Potential”. The event, held in the Desborough Theatre of Maidenhead Town Hall on Sunday 8th March, was very successful.
An audience of 80 people enjoyed a packed agenda to inspire them on this special day. The speakers were:
Dame Vera Baird, DBE,QC, Victims Commissioner for England and Wales (and a Soroptimist). Dame Vera spoke about the work done by the Commission, which listens to victims, promotes good practice across criminal justice, reviews the Victims Code and campaigns for change.
Maria Evans, a volunteer with the Royal Borough’s Climate Emergency Commission, who spoke about her journey and involvement in initiatives to combat climate change.
Four schoolgirls, Bethany Admans, Catie Holden, Katie Wright and Hannah Wright from different local schools talked about the Girls Policy Forum. The Girls Policy Forum was set up in 2018 so that the voices of young women and girls play an active role in shaping life in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. The Forum discusses policies, papers and items of general interest to young women and girls in the area with a view to the Forum feeding directly into policy making.
Fiona Mactaggart MP, Chair of the Fawcett Society and an MP for 20 years in Slough, talked about the work of the Fawcett Society. The Fawcett Society is a membership only charity in the UK that campaigns for women’s rights and gender equality. The organisation’s roots go back to 1866, when Millicent Garrett Fawcett dedicated her life to the peaceful campaign for women’s suffrage.
The Mayor of Slough, Councillor Avtar Kaur Cheema, and the Deputy Mayor of the Royal Borough, Chris Muir, were in attendance. Theresa May, MP for Maidenhead sent a letter of apology for absence, as did two other local MPs.
Members from local women’s organisations also came. A number of local organisations had stands including the Kori Project in Sierra Leone, DASH, Alzheimers Research UK, and Soroptimists.
A raffle was held in aid of the Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland’s Emergency Relief Fund and raised nearly £200.
The schoolgirls were presented with copies of a book called “Women Who Changed The World”.
Jackie Paling, the organiser of the event, said that “It has been a lot of hard work but the event was a complete success. The speakers were very inspiring and the four schoolgirls from the Girls Policy Forum were pleased for the opportunity to give them more self confidence in presenting. The event also provided networking opportunities.”
What an inspiring way to celebrate International Women’s Day!
The event, fully deservedly, received great media coverage in the Maidenhead Advertiser, the Slough Observer and Berkshire Life.