IWD at BNY Mellon – Advancing Potential: Making Yourself Heard”

Julia Rouse.png

The Sylvia team love getting out and about with businesses and Prof Julia Rouse was delighted to join a lively event – attended by many men as well as women – at Bank of New York Mellon on International Women’s Day. The theme was ‘Advancing Potential: Making Yourself Heard’ and conversation ranged across actions organisations, that individual men and women can take to enable women to be heard – and have power – at work.

Speakers also included:

  • Neil Atkinson (Male Ally & Managing Director, Depositary Receipts at BNY Mellon)
  • Lucinda Wakefield (Co-Chair of WIN EMEA & Principal Admin & Planning at BNY Mellon)
  • Jane Woods (Head of Income and Tax at BNY Mellon)
  • Jane Dalton of Groundswell Innovation representing Northern Power Women

Women Educating Cheshire Exhibition

Cheshire Event

We have always marked International Women’s Day in Crewe Library with book displays about inspiring and important women.  In 2018 we made a successful bid to the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre for funding a small exhibition celebrating the centenary of some British Women gaining the vote in 1918 and International Women’s Day.

The resulting exhibition Women Educating Cheshire in the 20th Century has been an exciting collaborative project between Margaret Roberts, associate researcher from the Cheshire Sports and Leisure History Research Team (SpLeisH) and myself to research, write and put the exhibition together.  The funding from the Sylvia Centre paid for poster frames and the printing of collages of archive material.  We don’t have the facilities to display fragile documents in Crewe Library, so reproducing images of what the campus holds was an effective solution.

We focused on women who studied and worked at the then Cheshire County Training College at Crewe.  The only criteria we bore in mind was that our women had to have left more than just a trace in the archive or a name in a college register.  We eventually examined the lives of eight very different women.

We chose three Crewe students.  Sybil, Ellen and Elsie experienced life at College before and during the First World War.  Sybil was the first of her family to enter higher education in an echo of the university’s First Generation campaign.  While the College originally accepted male and female students training to be teachers (it went wholly female in the 1940s and 50s) their experiences were very different and driven by gender expectations.

Ellen and Elise experienced life in the Women’s Hostel on campus, unlike their male contemporaries who stayed in lodgings in town.  While the male students could go off to the local theatre, the female students had to be in bed by 9:30 pm or 10:00 pm if they were on teaching practice.  Their skirt lengths and hairstyles were all regulated and any deviation corrected.  The physical education drill yards were separated by sex with a brick wall between both spaces.

Crewe 2

In 1913 the Crewe students staged a mock parliamentary election.  There were three male candidates, a conservative, liberal and socialist.  The fourth candidate was one Laura Collins who stood for the Women’s Party.  The student electorate voted on an equal basis with no property qualifications, but to discover who ‘won’ this ‘election’ you will have to visit the exhibition to find out.

Aside from our politically engaged students, our most exciting discovery was Mary Watt Pedder Vice-Principal at Crewe 1927-29.  She linked the campus to those important female educational campaigners of the nineteenth-century.  As a young girl she attended the famous North London Collegiate School for young girls founded by Frances Mary Buss, and this imbued her with a clear feminist sensibility.  Margaret traced her after she left Crewe when she became a popular speaker on women’s education and independence.

Each woman we researched proved fascinating.  Our student Rose from the Alsager campus (closed in 2010) went off to teach English in Franco’s Spain.  One Crewe lecturer who taught biology and rural science became even more interesting when we discovered she had planned the post-war Crewe campus grounds and gardens.   Our last subject was the impressive Bronson Ward (d. 2012).  She had been severely injured in the Farnborough Air Show disaster of 1952.  Despite life-changing injuries this did not prevent her having a successful career in education.  She was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a CBE.  She oversaw the amalgamation of Crewe with the then Manchester Polytechnic, now Manchester Met.

Crewe 3

The exhibition has proved a popular point on agendas at programme committees, and teaching colleagues and support staff have popped in and visited.  The exhibition has been used as inspiration by groups of Education students and Masters students from Exercise and Sports Science; both have to plan and execute their own subject-specific exhibitions.  Enquiries have come from alumni and retired teaching staff and Margaret will be speaking about the exhibition at a local Women’s Institute event in a couple of weeks.  We can safely say that the exhibition is beginning to buzz and we hope the women we have included would be pleased.

This has been an inspiring collaborative project between staff from Crewe Library, SpLeisH and the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre.  We hope this will be a catalyst for future projects.  If you have time do try to visit the exhibition and learn more about some of Manchester Met’s remarkable and inspiring women.

Women Educating Cheshire Exhibition in the 20th Century runs from Monday 5th March until Friday 30th March at 4:30 pm in Crewe Library on the Cheshire campus.

Sarah Webb – Senior Assistant Librarian, Crewe Library

Emmeline Pankhurst: The Making of a Militant

A television programme  about Emmeline’s early life and the background to militant activism is going to be screened at the Radisson Blu Hotel (formerly the Free Trade Hall – site of the first militant action) on 28th March.  The eventbrite below shows this as sold out (but there is a wait list).  However the programme will also be aired on the BBC and we will announce that date as soon as we know it.  The film includes appearances by women from the Pankhurst Centre, by Helen Pankhurst and by Kate Cook.  It is presented by Sally Lindsay and discusses some really interesting and lesser known parts of the Pankhurst story. 


Female Leaders in the North West Round Table Event

Manchester Met

Wednesday 7th March 2018

To celebrate International Women’s Day week, on March 7th Linda Alker from the Business School, organized an event focused on women’s leadership in the North West. Three successful female leaders participated in a round table event to an audience of undergraduate, postgraduate and members of staff from Manchester Metropolitan University.  The Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre sponsored the event.

The three women, all very successful in their own right, treated the audience to an honest, open and light-hearted conversation about the journey they had taken to reach the top of their chosen career pathways.  The leaders were Liz Taylor, Sandy Lindsay, MBE and Chief Inspector Colette Rose and each one was passionate about their chosen career. They were not driven by money but by ‘working and achieving success through people’.

Sandy had originally worked for a large corporate PR agency and had talked herself out of a job, because she disliked the way the agency dealt with its clients. For Sandy, ethical values are a priority, and for these reasons, she chose to set up her own business in a back room of her house. For Sandy her staff and clients are a priority; she has surrounded herself with people who have helped her to make Tangerine a success.  Sandy received her MBE for the support she has provided for young people through her Juice Academy.

Liz, whose career had been in the retail sector working for M + S, had started her business with £300 in the bank and a series of opportunities enabled her to set up the first event management business in Manchester. Liz has a reputation as the millionaire party planner, and organizes parties and event around the globe.

They explained that their personal success was all down to sheer hard work; and that it did come at a price.  Broken marriages and single parenthood was the price of success for two of them. Juggling young children and working late into the night was the only way to make a success of their careers.

Colette stated that having a baby in the early stages of her career in the Police Force, had essentially put everything on hold.  Colette said her son was always her priority, so she was prepared to negotiate her working life. Interestingly for both Liz and Colette, being a mother was the most important role they have ever undertaken in life. For Sandy who had no children, her business was her baby.

Feedback from those who attended the event was very positive; “It was a brilliant night chatting to the women and will be so helpful for my future studies” “Thank you for organising the panel event yesterday – was certainly of the most fun that I have attended here”; “really enjoyed the session. Everyone on the panel was engaging, fun and down to earth.  Refreshing.  Hope there will be more in the future”



Screening of Iron Jawed Angels and Women’s Activism Pop-up Library

Iron jawed angels

On the 7th and 8th March, Marie Molloy, Lecturer in History, hosted two events supported by the Sylvia International Women’s Day small grants scheme.

On 7th March there was a screening of Katja von Garnier’s Iron Jawed Angels, which tells the remarkable and little-known true story of a group of passionate and dynamic young women.

Led by Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and her friend Lucy Burns (Frances O’Connor), these women put their lives on the line to fight for American women’s right to vote. Swank and O’Connor head an outstanding female ensemble cast with Julia Ormond, Molly Parker, Laura Fraser, Brooke Smith and Vera Farmiga as a rebel band of young women seeking their seat at the table, and cinematic icons such as Lois Smith, Margo Martindale, and Anjelica Huston as the steely, older generation of suffragettes.


On International Women’s Day itself Marie, supported by undergraduate History students, ran a pop-up library of women’s activism. The library housed books on female activism and activists, with themes including women in reform movements, women and the fight for suffrage both in Britain and in the USA, and women and the Civil Rights Movement. There will also be books that focus on key individuals in the movements (Carrie Chapman Catt, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rosa Parks).

It proved to be really popular with both staff and students and helped to raise awareness of feminist activist around the world, past and present.

Northern Power Women Awards


Colleagues from the Generating Routes for Women’s Leadership (GROWL) research project hosted a table at the Northern Power Women Awards this week. The awards ceremony was attended by over 500 supporters of the Northern Power Women cause and is a collaborative campaign to accelerate gender diversity from the North of England. Engaging women and men in organisations as ‘agents of change’ for the campaign, we create opportunities for organisations and individuals to engage, learn and promote their achievements as campaign champions and advocates. Transforming the culture of organisations by recognising, celebrating and showcasing role models. The GROWL team invited representatives from the Legal and recruitment profession to share the experience, to discuss diversity and inclusion within their sectors, and the GROWL research project.





Generations of Activism: Celebrating Girls Work, at Peoples’ History Museum and on the Pankhurst Barge – March 23rd


10.00 Welcome and arrival – Kate Cook and Alison Ronan.10.15 Opening Memory Boxes: Instigated by Gabrielle Ivinson – these will contain objects to invoke memories and imaginations of the future, linked to the archive; and will gather responses as they travel. We hope to take them to at least two schools or college Feminist Societies; to Moss Side and Hulme Women’s Action Forum members (older women activists) and retired Girls Workers in the North West, before the event in March.

10.45 Kate Pahl: Poet in Residence. Introduction.

11.00 Dr Kate Cook and Sam Johnson:  Violence against Women – an intergenerational conversation.

11.45 Women of the Soil: a conversation between young and older women linked to the Louise Dacacodia Trust, who are currently undertaking an oral history project about Black women’s activism in Manchester – starting from the 1970’s/80’s Abasindi collective to now.

12.30 Lunch

13.15 ‘Our Bodies Ourselves’ meets Sexuality a Gender: Women’s Health Movements then and now – Jayne Mugglestone, Chloe Cousins and Alima Sonne.

14.00 Youth Work with Girls then and Now: The local and the Organised – Steph Green, Kristie Waller and Janet Batsleer.

14.45 Closing session with poems.

15.30 Finish at People’s History Museum.

16.00 Emmeline Pankhurst Barge from Castlefield Lock with celebration drinks and nibbles.

​Booking is required for this event – please contact Janet Batsleer j.batsleer@mmu.ac.uk, if you are interested.