Wednesday, March 9, 2011

International Women's Day 100th anniversary

Strange to think that the founders of International Women's Day are closer to us in time than they are to Mary Wollstonecraft. Today we celebrate 100 years of IWD; she died more than 100 years before IWD started.

Today Mary got a plaque from Islington Council and a letter in The Guardian.

During Mary's time in the Dissenters' village of Newington Green, she learned to see the injustices of the world through political eyes. It was the place, centred around its nonconformist chapel, that radicalised her. Lyndall Gordon's biography has a good chapter on the village and the inhabitants who influenced her, especially Richard Price, the gentle and theoretical revolutionary.  Islington Borough Council decided to create a plaque to her, and today it was unveiled, with much fanfare of councillors. The reception, fittingly, was in the church, and began with a choir of wriggling nine year olds from the primary school on whose outside wall the plaque had been affixed. I made sure the head teacher got an enthusiastic earful about Mary's important pedagogical work. Jeremy Corbyn, the local MP and quite a rebel in his own way, was there too, and promised his support. (By way of contrast, here's  the reverend's 2009 address about "Prophetic Mary"). 

Mary also got a letter in the liberal-lefty's broadsheet of choice, The Guardian. Or rather, Mary on the Green did. I've spent too much of the past weeks finding out more than I ever thought I would want to know about how to reach close to 1000 Parliamentarians. In the end, our letter got placed high up, with 70 splendid signatures supporting the campaign for a memorial statue of Mary. There was an accompanying piece by Maev Kennedy.

And now BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour has approached me; I'll be chatting with biographer Barbara Taylor on Thursday, at some point between 10:00 and 10:45 GMT. Tune those dials!

1 comment:

  1. I've read about Mary for the first time only a few month back and now she is popping up everywhere. Thanks for info, will check the blog more often to find out more. Very strong lady, she is.
    Thanks for doing this.