South Tyneside's female leaders get ready to celebrate International Women's Day - while blue plaque will honour wartime photographer

South Tyneside’s female leaders say they are ‘breaking the bias’ as they get ready to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 4:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 4:40 pm

Being held on March 8, the occasion will mark something of a first for the borough.

For as well as being represented in Parliament by two female MPs in Emma Lewell Buck (South Shields) and Kate Osborne (Jarrow), there is also an all-woman leadership team in the Town Hall along with a female Mayor and Mayoress in office.

The 2022 campaign theme for IWD is #BreaktheBias, with an emphasis on both challenging stereotypes and fighting discrimination and inequality.

The Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay and Jean Copp (pictured centre) come together with Leader of South Tyneside Council, Cllr Tracey Dixon and Deputy Leader, Cllr Joan Atkinson for International Women’s Day.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay, said: “We are certainly breaking the bias here in South Tyneside.

“In a first for South Tyneside, we have a strong team of women taking up the key positions in public service. With an all-women Council leadership, a female Mayor and Mayoress as well as women representing the borough in national government and regional community safety, women are playing important roles in driving our communities forward.

“Through these roles we can inspire women of all ages and backgrounds to be all that they can be. Our residents, men and women alike, can take the opportunity and the information that this campaign brings to champion gender equality and promote a world that is free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.”

A series of events and activities are taking place in South Tyneside to mark International Women’s Day, including a special exhibition focusing on the heroic self-sacrificing WWI Munitionettes, which is being held in The Word in South Shields.

Amy Flagg

South Shields Town Hall is also being lit up purple.

And a commemorative blue plaque will be unveiled on Tuesday in tribute of local historian and wartime photographer Amy Cecilia Flagg.

Amy, who passed away in 1965, is best known for the images she took in South Shields after the outbreak of the Second World War, most notably of the aftermath of enemy air raids and the damage caused.

The plaque will be unveiled by Councillor Hay, at Amy’s former family home, Chapel House in Westoe Village, on Tuesday.

A photo by Amy Flagg showing the damage caused in Market Place and King Street after an air raid on South Shields in the Second World War.

Councillor Hay said: “Amy Flagg was a remarkable photographer and historian who pictured and researched the town she loved during times of huge social change.

“But it was the pictures showing the trauma around her and the effect of the air raids on South Shields which marked a defining moment in her life and gained her much respect and recognition. Through her images she captured the human spirit of those tasked with clearing up the damage.

“Amy was also an incredibly generous and selfless person, who donated much of her time volunteering in her local community. It’s only right that Amy and her story of courage and determination is honoured with a blue plaque.”

Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Tracey Dixon said: “International Women’s Day is an important day that connects women all over the world and acknowledges and celebrates the achievements of women past, present and future. We are incredibly proud of what women have achieved in South Tyneside.

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