international women's day 2011

A free public lecture contrasting the lives and experiences of Doris Lessing and Anne Lister with some of the contemporary challenges faced by women today

Posted on: 23 February 2011

Tuesday 8th March 2011 from 5-7pm
Rose Bowl, Lecture Theatre D, Leeds Metropolitan University, Civic Quarter, LS1 3HE

Leeds Metropolitan University’s Equality & Diversity Team and International Affairs Forum present a free and informal public lecture to celebrate International Women’s Day – all comers are welcome./strong>

The event will take place between 5pm and 7pm at our Rose Bowl Building on the 8th of March. Guest speakers from the Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology and the Faculty or Health and Social Sciences will be joined by local campaigning group, LAST Network. The presentations will cover a range of subjects including the lives and literary works of Anne Lister and Doris Lessing, a United Nations funded research project about the rise of Acid Violence towards women in the third world, and finally a short presentation discussing the challenges of tackling sex trafficking at a local, national and international level.

The aim of this insightful two hour session will be to contrast the lives and challenges faced by women historically with those in the present day. Each guest will speak for around 25 minutes with some time available for questions. Late-comers are welcome as long as they enter respectfully and refreshments will be available – to cater effectively we ask that you please book a free place by emailing

Decoding Anne Lister
Anne Lister (1791-1840) is best remembered as a lesbian diarist. Her journals (1806-1840) run to an extraordinary four million words – about three times the length of Samuel Pepys’s. Part of her diary is written in Anne’s private code – mainly recording her romantic and sexual affairs with other women. In this lecture, Alison Oram (Professor in Social & Cultural History at Leeds Metropolitan) will consider the impact the decoding of Anne Lister’s diaries has had on lesbian history-writing and on lesbian communities. She will also discuss the ways in which Anne Lister is represented today in public history, especially at her home, Shibden Hall, near Halifax.

Writing in a Minor Key…
Since 1950 when her first novel was published, Doris Lessing’s fiction has confronted the ‘big issues’ of the twentieth century: the violence of war and colonialism, class and race inequalities, the appeal of nationalism and changes in the role of women. In this lecture Dr Susan Watkins (Reader in Twentieth Century Women’s Fiction at Leeds Metropolitan) will explore the author’s involvement in left-wing politics, her status as a post-colonial writer and her key role in second-wave feminism. It will also consider Lessing’s position as a ‘British’ writer and examine issues about nationality, ‘race’ and decolonisation raised in her writing.

Neutralizing Acid Violence
In this presentation Dr John Willott (School of Applied Global Ethics) introduces a partnership project between Leeds Metropolitan University, the Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) and charities in Uganda, Nepal and Cambodia. Financed by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women (UNIFEM) and including colleagues in our Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, this two year project will develop policy and actions to prevent acid and burns violence against women and girls. This is a global phenomenon which destroys lives. In addition to physical and psychological trauma, survivors can face social isolation and ostracism, which further damages self-esteem and seriously undermines their professional, economic and personal futures.

Modern day slavery: Tackling Sex Trafficking
LAST (Leeds Anti Sex Trafficking) Network is a local organisation that seeks to highlight the realities faced by trafficked women worldwide and empower local communities to take action. In this presentation LAST’s Jacinta Kent and Alice Cudworth will be joined by Okechukwu Ogbonna; an MA International and Comparative Criminal Justice student from the University of Leeds and former human trafficking worker for the Nigerian Government, in a discussion about the challenges faced by tackling sex trafficking at a local, national and international level.

Attendance at the event is limited by the size of the lecture theatre so please email in order to secure a place.

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