We were honoured to have so many women take part in our festival, not least our panellists who brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to look in-depth at three of our key themes for the day. Below you can find photos and biographies of members of all three of our panels.
Making Change Happen panel
Chair – Kim Trotter, Founder and Chief Executive of Future Female Society
A fully-qualified teacher and facilitator and an instinctive coach, I have been working with young people and adults for the past 20 years to help them achieve their goals and transform their lives. I have always rallied against inequality and have been interested in women’s rights and, after designing and piloting a programme to support young mums in the local community to get back into work, education or training, I was compelled to create a business that could support women and girls to achieve their full potential.
My teaching days were spent at Suffolk New College where I was head of Media; my love of that subject (particularly radio), and my time working and presenting on BBC Radio Suffolk, has helped me to design creative, exciting programmes that can engage, enthuse, develop and transform.
Lanai Collis Phillip – WASSUP
Volunteering Matters won the Volunteer Team of the Year Award’ for the ‘Women Against Sexual exploitation and violence Speak UP’ (WASSUP) project. WASSUP was set up, by four young women in Ipswich. Originally based on those members’ personal experiences of child sexual exploitation or abuse, WASSUP has grown into a youth social action programme, attracting 33 young women who as a team volunteer a total of 170 hours each month to raise awareness of domestic abuse, child abuse and sexual violence, identifying gaps in provision and helping to create safer ways to report these crimes. Within the team of 33, a core group of 14 young women meet on a weekly basis to plan events, campaigns, and support the development of an interactive toolkit to facilitate discussions in schools and signpost young people to safety. The group has delivered workshops reaching over 700 young people in high schools and 1,500 in primary schools with their groundbreaking gang grooming workshops.”
Becky Page – Disability Campaigner
27 year old wheelchair user. My personal interests include swimming, reading, horse riding, boccia, listening to music and exercising. I also enjoy socialising with friends; our activities include going the cinema, art and bowling.
Pippa Banham – No More Page 3
A campaigner and activist, happiest when actively participating – one of my placards from the Women’s March 2017 was included in the Hope to Nope graphic design and protesting exhibition at the Design Museum in London. Campaigned long and hard for No More Page 3 with success – there has been no page 3 feature since January 2015. Now campaigning for women’s sex based rights as part of the Gender Recognition Act government consultation.
Trained in law at university and, whilst bringing up a family as a single parent, worked for Citizens Advice for 18 years. It was while working for Citizens Advice I developed a special interest in equality and diversity law, discrimination issues and championing access to justice. I am now very lucky and proud to be working for our new Suffolk Law Centre (formerly at ISCRE) as a discrimination legal adviser as part of their Tackling Discrimination in the East project funded by the National Lottery.
Other interests include, open water swimming and lido enthusiast and playing the cello. I am a member of Cello Aid which fundraises for Suffolk Refugee Support, our next concert is on Sunday November 18th at Darsham Church. I am a trustee of the Art Station, a local project to develop Saxmundham Station into a contemporary art space for the community. I also co-founded a county wide group called KOHRS (Keeping our Human Rights in Suffolk) to raise awareness on everyday human rights issues.
Booan Temple – Section 28
Booan now lives in Suffolk where she has been an activist all of her adult life She was one of of the group of lesbians who stormed the BBC on 23 April 1988 in protest at the at the introduction of Section 28 . The were taken to jail but released without charge. She is a practicing barrister working at the Matrix chambers. Her main areas of practice are discrimination and equality, human rights, immigration asylum and free movement. She is also active in the Million Women Rise movement
Women in Politics panel
Chair – Councillor Jane Riley, The Mayor of Ipswich
Jane is Ipswich born and bred and attended Northgate Grammar School for Girls. Both her parents were teachers at Morland Road Primary School.
She went to Hull University and the College of Law in Chester before returning to Ipswich to work at Kerseys Solicitors, qualifying as a solicitor in 1988, and has been an Ipswich Borough councillor for four years.
She has had a role on the PTA at Clifford Road School, been a Parent Governor, helping to set up their CRASH after school club, and when her children moved on to high school, she became a governor at Copleston High School.
She is one of the founding trustees of Ipswich Film Theatre Trust, established in 2009 to run the two-screen cinema in the Corn Exchange. Also a trustee of the Northgate Foundation education charity and the newly-formed Suffolk Archives Foundation which supports The Hold (the planned new records office in Ipswich).
Jane’s husband Adam is her consort and they have three grown up children.
Her chosen official charity is the newly founded Suffolk Law Centre and the theme of her Mayoral Year is “Making a difference”.
Councillor Caroline Page, Suffolk County Council
Caroline is a Liberal Democrat county councillor for Woodbridge, a full-on family carer, prize-winning poet, campaigner, passionate feminist and Mandarin speaker.
The Leader of the Lib Dem. Group at Suffolk County Council, Cro is the only spokesperson at SCC for Women and speaks for Transport and Adult Care. Her campaigns have included rural transport, libraries, women, disability, family carers and Epilepsy and was one of two organisers of the Carers Virtual Strike to raise awareness of unpaid carers’ lack of rights.
She was a presenter on Suffolk’s feminist radio show, Broad Agenda and recently photobombed the unveiling of the Millicent Fawcett statue with a banner saying ‘Millicent Fawcett: Suffolk Women leading the Way’. Her background is in writing, editing and design.
Councillor Elizabeth Harsant, Ipswich Borough Council
Liz was first elected to Ipswich Borough Council in 2002 and in 2004 became the first female Conservative Leader of the Council in a joint administration with the Lib Dems. In her time as leader, she had to deal with the Council’s response to the murder of 5 women in Ipswich and helped set up the Charity “Somebody’s Daughter”, working with all the agencies to produce a Prostitution Strategy which is used all round the UK.
As councillor for Holywells Ward she has encouraged the development of the Waterfront and the restoration of Holywells Park. She is involved in many local charities, including Ipswich Furniture Project and Survivors in Transition and is chair of Parkside Pupil Referral Unit. in what little spare time she has she loves to read and travel and see her daughters and grandchildren.
Councillor Shelly Darwin, Ipswich Borough Council
As an active Ipswich Councillor since 2015, Shelly is aware both personally and through her work experience, of many inequalities and injustices that exist within our society and works to lessen the disadvantages of inequality and poverty. As one of the only BAME women councillors in Suffolk she believes that diverse representation matters and is now Vice Chair of he National Association of BAME councillors.
She has campaigned against cuts to children’s centres, the fire service, education and in support of our NHS. As a single parent, a qualified teacher, active trade unionist and having worked in youth justice she sees herself fighting for a better future for all children and young people and for equality for working women.
Meg Day, UK Youth Parliament:
I’ve been politically active since the 2015 General Election when I joined the Green Party of England and Wales. Since then, I’ve been involved with various national Youth Voice organisations. I’ve also been unanimously elected as the Member of Youth Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and to as a local and national Green Party representative.
I believe politics can and should be used to help create a better society where we care more for our environment and each other.
Ending Violence Against Women panel
Chair – Fiona Ellis, Chief Executive Survivors in Transition
Fiona founded Survivors in Transition (SiT) along with Clare Wilson in 2009 to provide support to female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. SiT became a charity in 2011 and now supports men and women who have experienced Sexual Abuse, Violence and Exploitation in childhood. Fiona studied Psychology at the University of Cape Town and has always taken an interest in childhood trauma and women’s issues. She specializes in developing group programmes and innovative interventions for adult survivors of sexual abuse. Fiona has worked at SiT full time since 2014, previously running the organisation in her ‘spare time’. SiT has grown from providing support to a handful of women once a week to working with hundreds of male and female survivors annually offering a range of services designed to meet individual need. She is passionately committed to survivors rights and improving their access to specialist services and as such sits on a number of national strategic fora.
Twitter – @survivorsuffolk
Tonya Antonis – Chief Superintendent, Suffolk Constabulary
Tonya joined Suffolk Constabulary in 1996. She has served in both uniform and detective roles up to her current rank of Chief Superintendent where she holds the post of County Policing Commander.
Tonya describes herself as a career detective as much of her service has been in detective roles, predominantly in Safeguarding. She has been involved in some high profile cases managing investigations involving Child Abuse; Sudden Unexplained Deaths in Children (SUDIC); Adult Abuse; Honour Based Abuse; Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking.
Tonya is chair of the Suffolk Association of Women in Policing.
Bal Kaur Howard – Trainer
Bal has been campaigning on issues of violence towards BAME people since 2008 and shares her own experience of a forced marriage with others to raise awareness, reduce the isolation of victims and increase reporting. She describes herself as an ‘empowered survivor’ -her darkest past being now ‘her greatest possession’.
Bal worked for Suffolk Constabulary for 7 years to combat Honour-based Violence and is now a trainer on Domestic and Honour Based Abuse, Forced Marriage, FGM, Modern Slavery and addiction across the UK.
At the first BME Suffolk Business Awards she was announced winner of the ‘Judges Special Award’ and nominated as Business Person of the Year.
Sally Winston – Chief Executive of Lighthouse Women’s Aid
Sally worked for Rethink: Disability Head Injury Service before joining Ipswich Women’s Aid in 2009 as CEO. Renamed Lighthouse, the organisation under Sally’s leadership developed a new Community Women’s Centre providing advice, therapeutic groups and courses to all women but particularly those experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse.
She was also instrumental in setting up the Independent Domestic Violence Adviser service and continues to work to meet the growing needs of women and children in need.
Amy Roch, Chief Executive of Suffolk Rape Crisis
A feminist service providing support for women and girls who have experienced any form of sexual violence.
In 2010 Amy became the Domestic Abuse Development Officer at LGBT Youth Scotland, Amy managed the LGBT Domestic Abuse Project, a national project focusing on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people’s experiences of domestic abuse and reducing barriers to people being able to access support.
She joined the Women’s Aid Federation for England in 2016 as Regional Development Officer focusing on ensuring that specialist women’s services, and particularly BME specialist services were maintained.