Local MP Sarah Newton joined a host of female Cornish singers and performers at a concert to celebrate International Women’s Day yesterday (Friday).
Mrs Newton attended ‘A Musical Celebration for International Women’s Day’ at Falmouth Methodist Church, hosted by Stithians Ladies Choir.
The concert also featured Mevagissey Ladies Choir, Celtic Chords, Simone Hellier, Becky McGlade, Oriel Bennett and Sue Whitmore.
The music was interspersed with stories of influential Cornish women of the past, including welfare campaigner Emily Hobhouse, Minack Theatre creator Rowena Cade, gig rower Ann Glanville and Mary Kelynak, the Newlyn fisherwoman who walked to London in 1851, and inspirations of today like rower Helen Glover, para dressage rider Suzanna Hext and Esme Page of Cornwall Hugs Grenfell.
The event raised money for Pants Cancers, a local charity set up by Jeannette Preston after she survived womb cancer, and attendees were encouraged to wear purple.
Mrs Newton, the Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth, said: “International Women’s Day was launched over 100 years ago and takes place annually on 8 March, with the aim of celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and calling for a more gender-balanced world.
“It was great to spend the day with some wonderful female role models, celebrating the lives and achievements of inspirational Cornish women past and present. Thanks to the organisers for putting on such a memorable evening.
“There are so many women making an important contribution in our community today.
“These include Kate Shields, a central figure in our vitally important public services as chief executive of Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, leading businesswomen such as Jill Carr of Pendennis and Amanda Winwood of Made for Life Organics and the likes of Tracey Boyne of Mylor Sailability and Jeannette Preston of Pants Cancers, whose charities are making a really positive difference to people’s lives.”
Mrs Newton added: “While much more needs to be done to bring parity for women in the UK and across the world, the government has overseen real progress in recent years.
“For example, the female employment rate is at a record high, the gender pay gap is at a record low and we are taking further steps to improve workplace equality.
“The government is putting the most vulnerable women at the heart of our work on gender and has introduced a number of measures, backed up by tens of millions of pounds of funding, to tackle violence and abuse of women and girls.”
Stithians Ladies Choir, which was formed in 1966 and currently has around 40 choristers, is keen to welcome new members.
Rehearsals take place at the Band Room in Stithians at 7.30pm on Thursdays and the group performs regularly across Cornwall and Devon, helping to raise thousands of pounds for charity.