We are delighted to announce our four leading inspirational speakers who will open and lead the four exhibition topics for debate in the historic Women's Parliament event being held on Thursday 6 September 2018. Senate House Library, part of the University of London, is partnering with 50:50 Parliament to turn the Library's Periodicals Room into a debating chamber for a few hours.
Empowering through Protest and Politics
Led by Rebecca Manson Jones is a founder member of Women’s Equality Party (WEP), WEP Candidate for Ladywell in Lewisham Council elections 2016 & 2018, Interim CEO at Oily Cart & Founder Artistic Director of ‘Just Jones &’
Rebecca is a founder member of the Women’s Equality Party and was one of the inaugural London list of candidates for the Women’s Equality Party in the GLA elections in May 2016. In October 2016, Rebecca stood in the Brockley by-election as the first ever local council candidate for the Women’s Equality Party gaining 7% of the vote. In 2018 she stood again in Ladywell gaining 1188 votes with a vote from 1 of 4 of all the voters. She is part of the working group on Equal Health Care and Medical Research.
Rebecca is also founder artistic director of Just Jones &. In 2013 she was the first UK recipient of the Ibsen Scholarship from Norway Ministry of Arts for her innovative staging & adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. In 2016 she was awarded an artist commission by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation as part of their three-year Inquiry into the Civic Role of Arts. She is co-Chair of What Next Lewisham? In 2014 she won a residency at Dartington to create We will be Happy Here inspired by grassroots climate change activism. In 2014 she was invited by Southwark Arts Service to curate an arts development pop up in a former Edwardian Library in SE London working with emerging artists, community groups, and arts producers. In 2015, Just Jones & won the Bentley commission to create new short plays in a former mining community.
Rebecca is currently on secondment as Interim CEO at Oily Cart the UK’s leading multi-sensory theatre company making work for the very young, children with Complex Needs and deaf/blind children. Previously Rebecca held senior arts roles at Exeter Northcott and The Almeida Theatre and is developing new participatory projects for The Donmar, Royal Court, Theatre Museum/V&A & West End Theatres. Previous directing credits include A Doll’s House (Exeter Northcott), Romeo and Juliet (contemporary Danish translation) SICK! After Moliere (Almeida) The Day the Patriarchy Died (work in progress site specific) Lewisham Coroner’s Court.
Rebecca studied modern languages at Oxford University and Drama at Central School of Speech and Drama. She is an accredited Action Learning Facilitator supported by ACE Cultural Leadership Programme.
Leading through Learning
Led by Dr Mary Stiasny, Pro-Vice Chancellor & Chair of Leading Women campaign, University of London
Dr Mary Stiasny is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) and Chief Executive of the University of London's International Programmes. Mary also spent four years as Director of Education and Training with the British Council, before moving to the Institute of Education, University of London as Pro Director, Learning and Teaching and International. Having studied at both LSE and Goldsmiths, Mary describes her long association with the University of London as one that she is very proud of, particularly because the University opened up education for women.
Working for Justice
Led by Harini Iyengar, leading barrister in Employment, Equality and Education
Harini gave expert legal evidence to the House of Commons Inquiry into high heels and workplace dress codes, and has been described by the Times as "a leading campaigner for diversity in the legal profession".
Harini Iyengar grew up in Manchester, where her immigrant parents were both NHS doctors. She went to Manchester High School for Girls, where all the Pankhurst daughters were educated, as was WEP co-founder Catherine Mayer. She studied at Oxford University before moving to London, where she was called to the Bar in 1999.
She works full-time and raises three children as their lone parent. Harini stood for the Women's Equality Party in the Greater London Assembly elections in May 2016, and at their first party conference in November 2016 she was elected to Policy Committee as Spokesperson on Equal Representation.
Controlling Mind and Body
Led by Dr Sonia Adesara, NHS doctor, Co-chair of the young Medical Women International Association, Chair of the Health network of the young Fabian Society & campaigner for Doctors for Choice UK
Sonia Adesara is an NHS doctor and a passionate campaigner for equality and women’s rights. She has seen how women’s health, and women’s experiences with services, is often not prioritized by our policymakers. She is the communications officer for Doctors for Choice UK, which calls for reform of the 50-year-old abortion act that criminalizes women and obstructs professionals from providing optimum care. She is a committee member of Campaign4Contraception, campaigning against cuts to contraceptive and women’s health services.
She has an interest in health policy and is chair of the Health network of the young Fabian Society. Sonia believes that the impact of policies on women, particularly ethnic minority and disadvantaged women, is often not considered by our politicians. Sonia firmly believes we need a more diverse parliament, truly representative of our diverse society, to ensure the lives and experiences of all women are prioritized.
The Speaker of the House for the Women's Parliament
Frances Scott, Founder of 50:50 Parliament, will be taking on the role of Speaker of the House for the Women's Parliament event.
Frances founded 50:50 Parliament in 2013, being a passionate advocate for better gender balance in Parliament. She has campaigned hard to address this issue from organising events to providing submissions to select committees. When speaking for 50:50 in Canterbury she inspired Rosie Duffield to stand. Rosie then went on to be one of the 12 extra women elected to Parliament in 2017. This was the start of 50:50’s Ask Her To Stand campaign to encourage women along the pathway to Parliament.
Frances is an antenatal teacher with the NCT and has helped support thousands of parents through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. She has sat on the Maternity Services Action Committee at St Mary’s Hospital.
Prior to having a family she had an international career in the hotel and tourism industry. She was involved in conducting economic, marketing and operations analysis throughout Europe and Asia. She was the first woman to be appointed to several of the roles she held in business.
6pm - Public entry to event & welcome drinks (no entry after 6.15pm)
6.30pm - Intro by the Speaker of the Women’s Parliament, Frances Scott
6.35pm - Debates begin
7.55pm - Speaker of the Women’s Parliament Round Up (10mins)
8.05pm - Close of session - Voting cards (given at entry) for event feedback & sign up to 50:50 Parliament
8.30pm - End of event
8.45pm - Building closes
This event is an opportunity for people to engage in lively debate on some key issues concerning women's rights, lead by inspirational speakers