International Women's Day (IWD) on 8th March is a day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. Whilst the Town Council acknowledges and applauds contributions from all sectors of society, today we are taking time to focus on the achievements of women from our town or women who have played a part in making a difference for the people of Lowestoft. Lowestoft Town Council has commissioned a video to celebrate IWD 2022
The theme for this year’s day of recognition is #BreakTheBias. IWD has offered the following campaigning words that the Town Council are pleased to share with you:
Imagine a gender equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women's equality.
Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
Women from Lowestoft’s History:
Dorothy Dallimer British Empire Medal:
Dorothy was born in Lowestoft on 1st December 1889. She was honoured with a rare British Empire Medal, for her efforts and dedicated service in the town during the Second World War air raids of 1941.
Her vital civilian work as a telephone supervisor at Lowestoft Post Office, Indeed, she was awarded the British Empire Medal in October 1941, for her bravery in maintaining an efficient telephone service during periods of constant danger – this while raids were targeting the port and the naval establishments.
Dorothy Oretta Boggis MBE:
Born in Lowestoft Dorothy Boggis a wartime evacuee aged 12 in June 1940 was for more than 25 years the driving force and chairperson of the Lowestoft Neighbourhood watch Association from 1986-2013 and awarded the MBE for her dedication to fighting crime.
Vera’s link to Lowestoft is evident in her autobiography - the bestselling book `Testament of Youth` published in 1933. Vera gives a vivid and passionate record of the years 1900-25 in which she conveyed an entire generation’s common experience of the First World War (1914-18). Vera writes of her visit to Lowestoft in 1915 to meet her boyfriend Roland, who was an Army Officer. A pacifist, prolific speaker, lecturer, journalist and writer, Vera devoted most of her energies to the causes of peace and feminism. She also wrote `Testament of Experience` published in 1957 which covered the period 1925-1950.
Gwen Baker MBE:
Gwendolyn Ethel Baker was appointed a Member of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire for her services to Lowestoft Hospital League of Friends. She served as senior office-holder of the Committee of the Friends of Lowestoft from 1948. She was instrumental in the formation of NSHEBA (North Suffolk Hospital and Equipment Building Appeal) in 1966 and remained chairperson of the organisation until 2000, when she took on the role of President. In recognition of over 50 years voluntary service, a ward in Lowestoft hospital was named after her. She also served as a Magistrate for 29 years and spent years as a volunteer organiser of the Lowestoft Carnival. The award of the MBE was in recognition of her tireless commitment, valuable contribution and proud record of unpaid civic service, doing so much for the community of Lowestoft.
Geertruida (Truus) Wijsmuller- Meijer:
Image from Pamela Sturhoofd
Geertruida was Dutch and in the late 1930s, she was active in the German and Austrian refugee movement in the 1930s. In December 1938 Geertruida courageously flew to Nazi-occupied Austria, was arrested, and used her arrest to secure a meeting with Adolf Eichmann with with whom she then personally negotiated for the release of 600 mainly Jewish children who left Vienna on the second Kindertransport five days later. Geertruida and her Dutch colleagues also organised entry permits from the British Government, reception and care in the Netherlands, and onward journey to Britain, for these and thousands of other Kindertransport children. The 529 Kindertransport children who arrived in Lowestoft on 12 December 1938 and who spent their first few weeks of safety here, as traumatised refugees. They owe their lives, and the lives of their children and grandchildren, to this remarkable and formidable woman.
Modern Day courageous women:
Image sourced from ITFC.co.uk
Paige began her football-playing career with Kirkley and Pakefield F.C as a 9 year old. Now an UEFA A and FA Youth Award Coach who specialises in coaching outfield female football players by understanding, supporting and developing the person to get the best out of the player. Currently Paige is Ipswich Town F.C women’s first team coach
Image sourced from Elizabeth Talbot
Lowestoft resident, Elizabeth was the youngest female auctioneer/antique expert who later became President of the Lowestoft Archaeology Society 2019. She regular contributes to antiques shows on daytime TV.
Represented the Gunton Ward when Lowestoft Town Council was formed in 2017. Sue served on many of the Town Council’s committees and had a particular interest in open spaces and the local historical environment. Her love and knowledge of gardening and plants was beneficial to the Council including the many voluntary hours she spent planting bulbs in Sparrows Nest and Arnold’s Bequest.
Outside of the Town Council, Sue was an active member of Gunton Residents’ Association, the Lowestoft branch of Suffolk Family History Society and helped to establish the Friends of Dip Farm Group.
Groups of Women that serve the Town:
Waveney Football Club:
Image sourced from Mike Pearce
One of the largest Female football providers in the country we currently have 15 teams starting at u8 right through to a Ladies team.
In addition to our teams Waveney Football Club also run a highly successful wildcats Centre, usually starting at Easter, and running for 16 weeks the aim of the wildcats Centre is to give girls 5 to 11 years old an introduction to Football through fun based football activities. At the end of the 16-week program, we look to find a team for all of the girls to play within the club.
In 1982 (the 40th Anniversary) Lowestoft Ladies won the most prestigious cup competition in English football the Women's FA Cup. "When you see the FA Cup now and you see them withthe trophy, you think 'our names on that Little old Lowestoft' said Rita Fossey, Lowestoft's FA Cup winning goalkeeper.
Breaking the Bias: Ordinary Lowestoft Mums who have done extraordinary things.
The theme of International Women’s Day for 2022 is “Breaking the Bias”. Quite rightly, therefore, we need to be very careful not to reinforce existing stereotypes and bias (“a woman’s place is in the home”, idealising the institution of motherhood, and so on). We also need to be careful to ensure that we do not fall into the trap of assuming that women who become mothers (and, indeed, women who do not become mothers) always do so through personal choice. However, equally, we also need to ensure that in the process of “Breaking the Bias”, we do not inadvertently create new stereotypes and bias by fostering the perception those mothers cannot be capable of remarkable achievements deserving of recognition. In the past year, some of our Town Councillors have met local women who have struggled tirelessly and for the most part anonymously on behalf of their children: shielding and protecting them from abuse, trying to access specialist healthcare or educational support, and so on. To some of these children, for months and sometimes years Mum has been the only person who had their backs and fought their corner, often at cost to herself. In celebrating individuals, we should at the same time take care not to forget the unsung heroes: truly at times, the ordinary can be extraordinary.
Lowestoft Town Council would like to thank everyone that has contributed to IWD 2022-They include Lowestoft Civic Society, Another Angle Studio, Lowestoft Town Football Club,Elizabeth Talbot, Ipswich Town Football Club and Pamela Sturhoofd.