It’s hard to believe that its been over a month since that glorious Wednesday morning when I was up at the crack of dawn to get ready for a very important event. Now I’m not normally a morning girl, but on this occasion I was lucky enough to be invited to attend an important new event in the Glasgow events calendar to celebrate the achievements of Glasgow and West of Scotland women.
The event entitled Woman Better Glasgow was to be held at the Crown Plaza Hotel between 10 and 11 AM. For me this meant giving up that extra hour’s beauty sleep I think I tend to need. Well, let’s be honest I’m closer to Madonna’s age then I am to Taylor Swift I’m only three years younger than my icon so I think you can see where I might be coming from.
After selecting my favourite feel good dress seen here at another important event, I got my face on and headed in the city centre before getting a taxi for the remainder of the journey to the venue which for those who don’t know Glasgow is located on the south side of the city across from the headquarters of BBC Scotland
This event which was sponsored by Oceanic Hair and Beauty was to honour five women who have bettered our city through the outstanding contributions they have made to the economic, social and cultural lives of the place I am proud to call home.
The awards were presented by the first citizen of Glasgow, Lord Provest Sadie Docherty whose welcome speech was filled with warmth and wit and created an atmosphere in which everyone felt comfortable. In her speech Provost Docherty looked back on the role of women in the history of Glasgow and reflected that we have come a long way but there was she said much more still to do.
On a personal level the Provost said that her husband often calls her a member of the awkward squad. This in my opinion is something to be proud of and I smiled when she referred to it as a badge of honour. Well thank god women like Mary Barbour who led the Govan Rent Strikes and Rosa Parkes who made history by getting off a bus in Alabama and effectively starting the American civil rights movement were members of the awkward squad how much poorer the world would have been.
Closer to home our first citizen recalled a story from the early years of her marriage when her husband was visited by his grandmother and she said to her man to put the kettle on and make his gran a cup of tea. However, instead of liking the idea of her grandson making her a cuppa she was furious that her grandson would be spoken to in such a way by his wife. Thankfully times have changed since those less enlightened times when a woman’s place was seen to be very much within the home. Now as the provost reminded us a woman’s place is in business, in the community, in sport , and in politics in fact it is as she so rightly says wherever we want it to be
So though I think it is safe to say that equality came slowly to the west of Scotland we are fortunate that to quote a line from the flower of Scotland ‘ those days are past now and in the past they must remain ‘ and it is women like our inspirational winners who they do.
Our first winner to be presented with her award was Galway born fashion designer Kelly McGrath whose online boutique promotes the vision of cruelty free fashion. This is a vision which greatly appeals to me as it will many others at a time when we as women and indeed as responsible global citizens begin to think more about how we can protect our shared environment whilst minimising the prospect of any damage to our world. It is an idea whose time has come
On chatting to Kelly I found her to be bright breezy and most of all bold. I say this because in my view Kelly illustrated that she was prepared not to copy trends or follow agendas but to create original pieces and set the agenda as to what is possible with a bit flair and imagination and the will to make things happen.
Next up to receive her award was Scotland’s Commonwealth Games judo medalist Louise Rennicks whose exploits along with her sister Kimberley also a gold medalist in the same sport inspired a nation in that golden summer that was 2014. Like Kelly, I also managed to chat to Louise and on congratulating her on her well deserved award I also had to commiserate with her as she is currently injured and will be unable to compete at the Olympics in Rio later this summer.
As we chatted I said I had watched most of the games including both her and Kimberly’s gold medals performances as I cheered on every Scottish medal. I said that it was good to see Coatbridge girls doing so well especially for someone from just up the road in Baillieston. On asking her if she was looking forward to defending her title in Australia in 2018, Louise informed me that Judo was not a Commonwealth games event in 2018 so she wouldn’t be able to defend her title till 2022. Of course I did point out there was a potential upside to this namely that there aren’t many Commonwealth champions who can hold on to their title for eight years
Next up to receive a well deserved award was Anne Keegan the founder of Tea In The Pot Women’s Drop In Service in Govan. This voluntary support organisation helps and empowers women in the G51 area who may be in need of assistance or just safe space where they can feel comfortable. Operating from that famous Govan cultural hub that is the one and only Pearce Institute this is a fantastic imitative and Anne Keegan and her main volunteer Ann McGhee can be justifiably proud of the work they have done and no doubt will continue to do.
This to me illustrates the work so many women do within our communities. This kind of work is so often undervalued because it isn’t the kind of service that makes money for the billionaires but the service it provides is nonetheless important as it gives women who may not otherwise have one a safe space where they can meet, chat , and network with other women and support and empower each other during challenging times.
Our last winner was Fatem Hameed who as chair of the Scottish Iraqi society has done a lot of work in supporting Iraqi refugees settling in Scotland and helped to bridge barriers her community and the more general Scottish population.
To me these awards represent a landmark for women in Glasgow and indeed and Sam Younis and her team should be congratulated on promoting a positive vision for women which inspires us to be all we can be .So let’s hear it for the girls who make our city a better place to live and work. As provost Docherty said in her opening remarks Women have always played an important part in Glasgow’s history and these awards give the women of our city the recognition we deserve. The significance of this day should not be day should not underestimated you see Sam Younis knows as I do that whilst people make Glasgow women better Glasgow and we do it by just being ourselves.
Love And Best Wishes