Suffrage honour for Bangor Rotarian, Sarah Havlin

| March 16, 2018

Rotarian Sarah Havlin has been honoured by being included in a unique exhibition at Oxford University to mark the centenary of Women’s Suffrage.

Sarah, who is Certification Officer for Northern Ireland, a role that oversees and regulates Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations, described herself as “gobsmacked” to find she was featuring in a prestigious collection in such an esteemed place and to have her thoughts included on a ‘Wall of Suffrage’ as part of the story of the journey of women.

The exhibition entitled ‘Sappho to Suffrage:-Women Who Dared’ was opened in the Bodleian Library, Oxford  as part of the celebration of International Women’s Day  and will be on display for the next 12 months.

Sappho was an archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos and it is believed she was born around 630BC

The Suffrage Wall which is the centrepiece of the Exhibition features women from around the UK who represent a variety of occupations from within the Arts, Business, Education, Politics, Science and Sport who were invited to become suffrage champions, making a powerful statement about women’s achievement and the continuing need to challenge barriers to gender equality, one hundred years after they were enfranchised.

Sarah’s banner bore her own self-styled motto:-“Never underestimate being underestimated. Even though it feels frustrating when you are younger, I have found that it’s amazing how much easier it is to achieve things when people have a low expectation of you”.

Giving her thoughts on feminism and suffrage Sarah said:-“It amazes me that we don’t have nationwide memorials to the Suffrage movement or annual parades of honour for what those women achieved for both women and men in the modern age. I come from a society where marching and memorialising battles, war and conflict is a huge part of our cultural character.

“It amazes me how patriarchal traditions of celebrating the sacrifice of mostly men in a military context dominates how we remember and how we identify ourselves by reference to past events, yet a seismic event of achieving votes for women is not really remembered or celebrated at all.

“There are no monuments in towns to gather around each year and show our gratitude, there are no marches or parades to express our identity as free and independent women.  Therefore I think modern women need to seize every opportunity they get to shout from the rooftops.

“These women made sacrifices for me. These women changed the world. I am proud to live under the freedoms they gave me”.



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