Yes we can!


Words by Veronica Oakeshott

An inspiring women’s evening with East End Girl and Deputy Speaker, Dawn Primarolo MP

On 18 June the West Ham Women’s Forum held our first fundraising dinner, with special guest Dame Dawn Primarolo MP, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.

West Ham MP, Lyn Brown, who attended described the dinner as ‘not only a chance for a natter – but something more important. A chance to support each other and be inspired by our collective potential.’

The dinner, held in the lovely Eat16 – an atmospheric converted church in Canning Town – was attended by 30 women from across the Borough and beyond.

Eat16 is run by Women’s Forum member, Sarah Ruiz. Sarah provided us with a simple, high quality dinner, helping us to raise about £140 for the women’s forum.

Dawn Primarolo, a former East End girl, recently turned ‘Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE)’, for political service to the nation, was the perfect speaker for the occasion. Selected as a PPC whilst a single parent (much to the outrage of her competitors) she has never let her gender hold her back.

“The more they tell me I can’t do something, the more I am determined to prove I can.” she told us.

That can-do attitude won her the role of Minister in various Departments in the Labour government, including, notably, Paymaster General, a Treasury role more commonly inhabited by men.

The dinner was also a chance to announce the result of the vote on the priority issue for the Women’s Forum’s campaigning. Tackling domestic violence was the clear winner. Thanks to previous work by the Forum, the Mayor has pledged to make progress on domestic violence and the Women’s Forum will monitor this pledge and make our own contributions where we can.

In what is becoming a tradition of international sisterly solidarity, West Ham Women’s Forum are also proud to have raised £30 for the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign.

Many thanks go to Dawn Primarolo for her fantastic speech, Sarah Ruiz for the delicious dinner and the Chair, Seyi Akiwowo and our Youth Officer, Rania, who shouldered much of the event organisation.


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