Tag Archives: women’s contributions

The invisible women

Women have always played a significant role in the life of our villages, towns and cities. The shame is, that their role is largely forgotten and consigned to history.

As a Liverpool councillor, I had the opportunity to redress the balance a little and give ordinary women, who had made a real difference, both a face and a place in our lives.

In Liverpool, the Blitz Memorial Statue depicted a woman and a child. It was based on the true story of a survivor of the Durning Road shelter bombing in the Blitz. Women worked in munitions factories, as nurses, taking the place of men who were called up for service. They kept going when bombs dropped around them and often, as in the case of this survivor, when war robbed them of their children.

Kitty Wilkinson was a woman who landed as a child on the Liverpool shoreline. Her story was passed down from mother to daughter, from generation to generation. She was a working class women whose ideas changed her world, and ours.

Kitty believed that cleanliness was essential to being healthy. During the great cholera epidemic that killed thousands in the city, not one person in her street died. Kitty allowed them to use her copper to keep bedding and clothing clean.

Doctors thought she was mad, but then some realised what was happening. That she was right. Eventually they supported her and Liverpool Corporation, as it then was, built public launderies and provided clean water. Even Queen Victoria knew of her and sent her a silver tea service.

She saved thousands of lives and affected public health and medicine across the globe. But, as a lowly working class woman, didn’t deserve a piece of commemorative art.

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