100 years and still fighting!

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This year’s International Women’s Day on March 8 is particularly poignant for a group of Cornish women.

To highlight their commitment, Cornwall’s contingent of WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) women took part in an innovative photo-shoot to recognise the 100 year anniversary of the suffragettes.

Explaining the motives behind the special photo-shoot, which featured fellow campaigners wearing period dress from the suffragette and 1950s era to the present day, WASPI co-ordinator Janet Haley, said: “We wanted to salute those women for bringing us this far and to send out the message that we are still fighting for our rights.

“This year’s International Women’s Day theme puts its spotlight on rural women and their organisations, which is close to our hearts living here in Cornwall.

“Our research for the photo-shoot has been a real eye-opener, highlighting the discrimination we faced during our own working lives and why we are still fighting for justice due to that unfairness.”

Chris Carne, also a Kernow WASPI co-ordinator, added: “We were born in the 1950s when the majority of us started work at 15 and equal pay and job opportunities were unheard of. We had no access to a workplace pension scheme and are paying for those discriminatory years now due to the pension injustice. I remember clearly it was taken for granted that you’d lose your job when falling pregnant and of course there was no maternity pay or child care help.

“Even in the 1970s women weren’t allowed a mortgage, loan or credit in their own name without their husband or father’s permission. In fact in the 1960s a husband was entitled to keep half of his wife’s savings and her property on marriage.

“It’s taken a lot of hardwork, commitment and fight to re-dress the balance and of course the fight continues 100 years on from the suffragettes.”

For more information about the WASPI movement contact kernowwaspis@gmail.com