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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Striving for Equality on International Women's Day 2021

Monday, 08 March 2021

As Leader of Tameside Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Lead for Equalities, I would like to wish you all a Happy International Women’s Day.

Since it was first celebrated in New York in 1909, International Women’s Day has become a global event to recognise the achievements of women across the world, and an opportunity to consider the social, economic and political challenges that women continue to struggle against. We’ve come a long way from the days when the Suffragettes faced arrest and persecution in the UK for demanding the vote and other basic human rights, but modern campaigns against sexual assault, the gender pay gap and other systematic and unjustifiable inequalities shows that the struggle for full equality is not over yet.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “women in leadership”. I don’t think it’s hubris to say that, when it comes to the women taking charge and making decisions, I’d put Tameside up against anywhere else in the world today. I’ve always said that I’m proud to be the first woman ever to be elected to the office of Leader of Tameside Council, but I am just one of many women who have risen to positions of leadership within the borough.


Over the past year our Director of Public Health, Jeanelle De Gruchy, has been standing side-by-side with Karen James, the Chief Executive of Tameside Hospital, and Jessica Williams, CCG Director for Commissioning and Vaccine Rollout Lead, on the front lines of our local response to coronavirus. The Civic Mayor of Tameside, Cllr Janet Cooper, has worked with local campaigner and pub owner Pauline Town in our local communities on the “We Shall Overcome” campaign to support our homeless and vulnerable in this incredibly difficult time. Jackie Moores, the Principal at Tameside College, also holds an essential role in making sure our young people get the skills and education they need to get on in life.

That being said, it’s important to remember that not every woman can be, or wants to be, the next Chief Executive or Leader of the Council. But all woman play their part in society no matter what they do, and no woman should feel like they’re held down in Tameside or Greater Manchester because of their gender.

This year’s International Women’s Day is also being held just over a year since the first positive cases of coronavirus were identified in Greater Manchester. It’s for that reason that we’re taking the opportunity to remember and celebrate the contribution of women during the pandemic. Over 80% of the city region’s health and care workforce are women, and many have also taken on additional informal caring and teaching responsibilities over the past year. While the coronavirus appears to have killed more men than women to date, it is also true that women are suffering more of the economic consequences of the pandemic. Women are more likely to be on insecure and zero-hours contract, more likely to be employed in service sectors hit hardest by social distancing measures, and more likely to have lost their jobs or been furloughed. We’ve also seen a dramatic increase in incidents of domestic abuse over the course of lockdown, in which women have disproportionately been the victims.


I’ve said in the past that when this terrible pandemic finally comes to an end, we must reject the false comfort of going back to the ways things were before. After a once in a generation trauma comes a once in a generation chance to build back better, fairer and greener for all. Harnessing the skills and effort of women from all walks and positions of life will be absolutely indispensable in making that a reality. International Women’s Day reminds us how far we’ve come, but it also shows us how far we have left to go to create a truly equal world. 

Posted by: Executive Leader

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