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International Women’s Day – 5 Manchester Women Who Made History

International Women’s Day aims to celebrate achievements made by worldly women.

Today, our focus is on five women of Manchester who changed the world as we know it.

Emmeline Pankhurst

Probably the most famous of our lineup of Manchester heroines.

Moss Side-born activist Mrs Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union, and was pivotal in the suffragette campaign.

Although her tactics were considered “militant”, the leader of the suffragette movement did succeed, and her efforts were recognised by other groups. Women were given equal voting rights to men in 1928.

Shortly after this, Emmeline passed away, but her efforts will never be forgotten.

Find out more here.

Marie Stopes

The first female academic at University of Manchester.

Edinburgh-born Marie Stopes co-founded the first birth control clinic in the U.K. with her second husband Humphrey Verdon Roe.

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She also penned the first manual on birth control called Married Love, and believed that birth control would reduce the need for women to go through abortion. 

Louisa Da-Cocodia

Louise Da-Cocodia, 1934-2008

Jamaican native Louise Da-Cocodia came to train as a nurse in Manchester in 1955, after the NHS overseas recruitment campaign.

She qualified in 1958, encountering racism from patients and colleagues along the way.

In 1966 she became the first  black senior nursing officer in Manchester, when she was appointed as Assistant Superintendent of District Nurses.

We could go on for hours about this lady’s achievements (although only credited with an MBE in 1992), but her greatest achievement in our eyes was her pivotal role in regional race relations committees.

Here, she served as a board member, handling complaints under new discrimination laws. She even published a research paper on the effects of racism in nursing. 

Find out more here.

Clara Walkden

Clara Walkden

The first sworn female constable in Oldham, and what is now the Greater Manchester area.

Clara Walkden joined the Oldham police force in 1921, this year therefore marking the centenary since she joined the force.

After taking her oath on May 9th 1921, she had powers of arrest, making her the first female constable to have such power.

Erinma Bell

Dr Erinma Bell, 1964-

Dr Bell has been recognised for her peace activism against gun crime in Moss Side.

Left traumatised after watching a close friend being gunned to death, she set up CARISMA, which is a programme to steer young people away from a life of crime and violence.

CARISMA has since become a part of Chrysalis, a family support centre that helps migrant families. 

Find out more here.

Still a long way to go…

All of these women have pioneered in their fields, paving the way for our generations to succeed. They are real heroines who have achieved more than most humans can dream of. They are some of the greatest representatives of female Manchester history.

It is important to remember though – for all of these women who changed the world in the past, we still have a long way to go, and should not stop at simply celebrating these amazing accomplishments. 

Our list extends far beyond the top five we’ve chosen. We at Pie Radio look forward to continuing to see more women, of all cultural backgrounds in the Greater Manchester area continue to change the world for the better.

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