Who are Women of Bedford?
Women of Bedford is a volunteer-led community organisation. We believe representation matters. The group came together when we realised that despite a wealth of strong, high-achieving women in our history, not one of the 11 existing statues in Bedford is of a woman. This is echoes a national problem. We are raising funds to install the first statue in the town which celebrates a woman and have picked educational reformer, suffragist and politician Amy Walmsley. However, the stories of the many and diverse women of our town cannot be summed up by one statue. For us Amy is a beginning, not an end. We are working with schools and community groups to raise awareness of the amazing stories and achievements of Bedford women, past and present, to educate and inspire the next generation.
How are WoB celebrating International Women’s Day?
We have a programme of activities leading up to 8 March 2021 – International Women’s Day. Our theme this year is Educate and Celebrate! Join us to find out more about some of the amazing Women of Bedford both past and present and let’s celebrate their contribution to our town.
1 – A programme of talks will runs from 1-6 March highlighting the work, stories and achievements of some of the extraordinary women in Bedford today. We hope to continue regular talks into 2021. If you have any thoughts on topics or people you would like us to make space for, please contact us. For now we invite you to join book your place at these talks; join us and let us connect and celebrate together. Please see below for details on our programme.
Book here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/bedford-creative-arts-9019818833
2 – A networking event for female 6th form students – Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted woman, highlighting the existing inequalities in our society. To mitigate this impact, Women of Bedford are running a virtual networking event for female 6th form students, an opportunity to meet and talk to leaders in industries including engineering, law, public sector, charities, business and the arts.
3 – A selection of downloadable materials to encourage children to find out more about Amy Walmsley and to identify and celebrate today’s women of Bedford, the stories, knowledge, experience and achievements.
Book your place on the talks here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/bedford-creative-arts-9019818833
Grassroots Evolution Of The Media To Better Serve All Communities
Mon 1 March, 7.30pm
Erica Roffe, founder the Bedford Independent and Anita Powell, founder of Bedford Radio reflect on opportunities to reposition diversity and inclusivity in local news.
Being Deaf: So Much More Than Not Being Able To Hear Tue 2 March, 1pm
We will be talking to Catherine Wright, one of the founders of local charity Access Bedford, about what it is to be a deaf woman.
The Objective Friend: How A Mentor Can Help You Discover Your Unique Path (Postponed)
Wed 3 March, 1pm
You’re a woman with lots of friends. Most of them have their own perspective when they are giving you advice – they want you to do it their way. This event is all about having a mentor to help you discover your own path.
Thu 4 March, 7.30pm
From concept to reality. How self-belief and purpose drove founder of Creating Memories, Pritti Saggi’s, journey to building a charity and the challenges she faced along the way.
No One Left Behind – Community Response To The Pandemic
Fri 5 March, 7.30pm
We’ll be talking to Lila Begum, Cathrine Ward, June Kuria, Marie-Ange Comerford-Raillon and Fsella Pagliari who volunteer with Queen’s Park Community Organisation (QPCO) about the importance of projects they’ve been working on during the pandemic.
Creativity and Loss: Finding a Path Through The Pandemic
Sat 6 March, 7.30pm
Losing loved ones in a time of pandemic-induced social isolation is hard. Four Bedford women working in the arts talk about the challenges and benefits of staying creative during the pandemic and how those intersect with gender and loss.
Downloadable Resources For Children
Amy Warmsley Colour Me In Potrait by Emily Ross
Only a tiny percentage of the UK’s statues (2.7%) is of historical, non-royal women. Women of Bedford plans to correct this at a local level. Working with local historians, Amy Walmsley (1868-1928) was selected as the first candidate for a statue. A passionate advocate for women’s equality, Amy challenged the conventions of her time. She was the director of a local kindergarten and teacher training college, educational reformer, business leader, suffragist and county councillor. This portrait of Amy was drawn by Emily Ross for you to colour in.
Worksheets by Katie Allen
Women of Bedford came together when we realised that despite a wealth of strong, high-achieving women in our history, not one of the 11 existing statues in Bedford is of a woman. This is echoes a national problem. We are raising funds to install the first statue in the town which celebrates a woman and have picked educational reformer, suffragist and politician Amy Walmsley. However, the stories of the many and diverse women of our town cannot be summed up by one statue. For us Amy is a beginning, not an end. We want to hear from the children of Bedford about the amazing stories, knowledge, skills and achievements of Bedford women they know! Local artist and illustrator Katie Allen has created these worksheets to help children think about the amazing women in their lives. We would love see your drawings and stories, so if you are happy to share them please do so on social media #amazingwomenofbedford
Colouring Sheet by Sara Sayer
In December 2018 a blue plaque was unveiled at 14 The Crescent in Bedford to commemorate Amy Walmsley. This colouring sheet of that location was created for Woman of Bedford by local artist Sara Sayer.
Women of Bedford believe that representation mattes and equality matters. With the help of Bedford Bookfest/BookTastic, we are bringing you the first two resources to help parents and teachers explore feminism and bust gender stereotypes with children!
Here are two lists and the recommended age for each book:
Sadly we can’t provide the books themselves, but at least we can give you a guide of what exists out there so you can look them up.