Alice Bacon is the first ever female MP in Leeds to receive a blue plaque, which will be erected in her honour in the new year.
By Georgie Eastabrook
Alice Bacon was a British Labour party MP who served as a Leeds MP in both Leeds North East and Leeds South East, for a total of 25 years. She has inspired many people with her involvement in politics, specifically as a pioneer for women trying to get into this field.
Today marks an important day in history as it’s a century since women were allowed to vote for the first time and stand in general elections.
Leeds Women in Leadership society told Leeds Hacks: “There is no doubt she deserves a plaque. However, the fight isn’t over and Alice wouldn’t want us to stop fighting.”
The plaque will be placed at the Corn Exchange, marked by a ceremony on Thursday 10th January 2019.
Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West told Leeds Hacks: “It is absolutely right that more women should be commemorated throughout our towns and cities. Dedicating blue plaques and statues in this way ensures women cannot be written out of history.
“A blue plaque for Alice Bacon, at a venue she so regularly visited to carry out her advice surgeries, is a fitting tribute to her legacy. I am honoured to be unveiling the plaque to commemorate her life and work.”
The blue plaque scheme was set up in 1987, celebrating various important people, events and buildings around the city of Leeds.
More plaques for women
Leeds Civic Trust, located on Wharf Street in the centre of Leeds, have now got over 160 blue plaques around Leeds. But there are only around 20 of them dedicated to women.
People would like to see more blue plaques dedicated to women. Labour Councillor Carole Jones tweeted:
Would love you to support and help fund blue plaques for great women in towns outside London. We’ve got 4 new ones in #Ipswich in the past 3 years – but that’s a 100+% increase! 😳 #women #history #representation https://t.co/0ib39sdSJC
— carole jones (@artoflabour) December 14, 2018
The ratio of women to men having blue plaques is disproportional, according to campaigners.
Charlie, secretary of LUU Feminist Society told us: “I’m not surprised that so few women have been commemorated for their work and efforts in their communities, it is sympathetic of how women achievements are overlooked.
“I am very glad that Alice Bacon’s plaque will be put in place and I’m sure it will be a cause for celebration within our feminist society.”
And Iain Dalton, member of Leeds Socialists said: “We believe the bias in blue plaques in Leeds is due to how these plaques are funded, largely by businesses and wealthier individuals, which leads institutions and people largely coming from a similar background. It’s not only women, but working class men and women and their lives and struggles that tend to be forgotten.”