International Women’s Day celebrations in Milton Keynes

Celebrations at the MK Rose
Celebrations at the MK Rose

Milton Keynes Community Foundation has held an annual event to mark International Women’s Day since 2013.

This year guests were invited to MK Theatre to hear Nikki Ross, assistant chief constable of Thames Valley Police, talking about her role and the challenges that she has faced as she moved through the ranks from the typing pool to her current role.

Nikki delivered her speech to the engaged audience, including the Mayor, Mayoress and the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire and the event sponsors Woodfines Solicitors with a perfect balance of honesty, humour and inspiration. She left the audience with a palpable feeling of positivity and a clear message to #PressForProgress.

Debbie Brock took the opportunity to mark the 100th anniversary since the Representation of the People Act 1918, meaning the first women were able to vote.

It took years of campaigning and direct action by law-abiding suffragists and violence and hunger strikes by the militant suffragettes to achieve The Act, which granted the vote to men over 21 and women over the age of 30 who met certain property qualifications. It was another decade before all women gained the same voting rights as men.

As part of the celebration, The Foundation invited 19 women, from an astrophysicist to a leader in Cybersecurity, to visit a local schools talk about their Journeys.

Each inspirational woman delivered a copy of the book, ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls’ by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.

The book tells the stories of 100 remarkable women and their extraordinary lives. It’s hoped that this gesture will inspire the next generation of women to dream bigger, aim higher, fight harder.

The guests walked to the MK Rose where they heard from two students from MK Academy who read an extract from the Rebel Girls book.

Guests were then encouraged to make a personal pledge or comment and tie it to the International Women’s Day Pillar, keeping in mind this year’s theme #PressForProgress.