Bradford Council will host a special exhibition honouring some of the many ‘Bradford Lasses’ who have made their mark in both the Bradford district and across the country.

The Pioneering Bradford Lasses exhibition will be held in City Hall, Bradford as part of International Women’s Day. The exhibition will include 14 framed photographs of pioneering women from Bradford’s past, including the Manningham workers dispute committee and pensioners campaigner Florence White.

The exhibition is the beginning of an initiative to address some of the gender imbalance around the district when it comes to publicly honouring local pioneering figures. While there are many buildings, streets and rooms around the district named for some of our illustrious local historical male figures, there is an acknowledgement that not enough women are being represented in public places around the district. Often the only representations of women in the public realm are of monarchs.

With this Pioneering Bradford Lasses initiative, everyone who visits City Hall will be able to walk through the exhibition showcasing the history of these important women.

As part of International Women’s Day there will also be a pop-up display in the Banqueting

Women building seaplanes during First World War, North Parade, Bradford

Suite with banners showing pictures and providing details of the women. After this event, the display will travel around the district, and be set up in prominent public places for all to enjoy and take in.

To further improve the gender balance around Bradford district, a list has been put together by the Council and Bradford Civic Society of women from all over the district who have historical importance to specific towns and communities. The aim is to check this list against future housing developments so these pioneering women can be considered for street naming in the local areas where they made their contributions.

Certificate presented to Julia Varley recognising her contribution to cause of women’s suffrage signed on behalf of the Women’s Social and Political Union by Emmeline Pankhurst

This initiative also ties in with a new Blue Plaque campaign recently launched by Bradford Civic Society. Work is underway to erect a number of plaques celebrating the achievements of Pioneering Bradford Lasses. This so far includes famous suffragette and campaigner, Julia Varley, and the author known as the ‘Bradford Chekov’, Malachi Whitaker.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, portfolio holder for Better Health, Better Lives, said: “I do a lot of work in City Hall and while there are rightly many pictures of the old industrialists and alderman who helped shape our district, these are by and large, male figures. This exhibition offers the chance to redress this balance and promote more of our district’s pioneering ‘lasses’. If we don’t know the history of women like Julia Varley and Florence White who campaigned for the rights we all now enjoy then we don’t really know the true history of Bradford.”

Leader of Bradford Council, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “It’s about time that we paid tribute to some of our local female heroes. Making sure important and pioneering women from our district’s past are acknowledged in this way is so important, not just in honouring them and their achievements but by ensuring that we raise people’s awareness of them and that they can inspire the young women of today to go on and make their own history.”

Manningham Workers Dispute Committee

Si Cunningham, Chair of Bradford Civic Society, said: “Bradfordians have done great things for the world, but most of our district’s own statues and memorials are of blokes. As we’ve launched a new blue plaque scheme for the city this year, Bradford Civic Society want the first few new ‘people plaques’ to be dedicated to some great Bradford women who otherwise have little or no recognition elsewhere.

“Together with Bradford Council’s new exhibition, we have some remarkable stories to tell about how the women of this city have shaped everything from social reform to science and literature. I hope we can help inspire the legendary Bradford lasses of the future.”

For more information on other events taking place as part of International Women’s Day, please visit www.bradford.gov.uk/IWD