Emily Wilding Davison was one of Northumberland’s most famous daughters and last week her legacy of helping women gain the right to vote was forever enshrined in a statue depicting her while on hunger strike. I went to the unveiling of her statue with some of my council colleagues and it made me reflect on how the role women like Emily played in paving the way for me and other women to excel in public life.
Emily’s legacy lives on here in Northumberland just as it does elsewhere in the country. One hundred years on from women first gaining the right to vote, this country has its second female Prime Minister who continues to show strength and leadership, despite an incredibly challenging time for our nation. But my focus is here, in Northumberland, where women continue to occupy key roles in public life.
I’m proud to be one of a number of female councillors on Northumberland’s Conservative-led County Council. It is a real privilege to serve as the County Councillor for Hexham East. Not only is it a personally rewarding experience, but it gives me the opportunity to meet local people, help my community and be part of a dedicated team providing key services for our area. Every day is very different, and solving complex issues is incredibly rewarding; it is challenging but enjoyable. Working as a local councillor has added a great deal to my life, and I hope that I have returned my gratitude to residents through my hard work.
To capitalise on Emily’s legacy yet further, I would always encourage women to follow my journey, and become involved in public life. New councillors bring innovative ideas and enthusiasm, and that adds value to the council and the communities they serve. Making a county work for everyone requires representation of all backgrounds. Women are particularly under-represented in national and local government and I would like to see that change.
Town and Parish Councils, County Council, and Parliamentary elections are the perfect opportunity for women to play a lead role in the democratic process.
I am always keen to speak to anyone who thinks they might be interested in standing for public office. If you think this could be you, please email me on email@example.com or call me on 07766 924639.