Today is International Women’s Day, 8th March 2021, a day where we can: “Celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality.”
Of course there may be some men reading this who are feeling a little left out - they can put International Men’s Day in the diary, it is 19th November each year.
This year International Women’s Day (IWD) is asking people to choose to challenge #ChooseToChallenge. I think this means that we need to do more than just think about bias and equality, we need to challenge it when we see it, and I think we see it everywhere.
By December 1963 Christine was tired and beaten so she pleaded guilty to perjury and was given a nine month sentence. As it is International Women’s Day I wanted to talk about one of the reasons Christine was so beaten down and why she felt fighting was hopeless. To help illustrate some of the hate being thrown at Christine at the time, some of the ‘bias’ she suffered, I wanted to share how she was being talked about by MPs in the House of Commons.
21 March 1963
Mrs Barbara Castle:
Mr R T Paget:
17 June 1963
Mr Harold Wilson:
Mr Nigel Birch:
Mr George Wigg:
Mr Charles Loughlin:
Mr B T Parkin:
Sir Richard Glyn:
There was some strong language used in Parliament, and I think it helps illustrate her worth in their eyes and helps give a flavour of why Christine would chose to plead guilty, if only just to get away from it all.
Christine, who had never been arrested or even in trouble with the police, is assassinated in Parliament. Is it any wonder that a few weeks later Stephen Ward was found guilty of living off the immoral earnings of both Christine and Mandy.
In the spirit of International Women's Day, I call out Parliament for their discriminating treatment of Christine Keeler in 1963.
My wife/partner, Lorraine, was talking about one of her memories of Christine, it was soon after they met, so around 2001 for a short time we all lived together. Lorraine remembered how one night Christine was talking to her about her story and she just said a little mournfully “You know, Loz” - Christine called her Loz - “I should never have gone to prison”.
And she shouldn’t have.
As it is International Women’s Day I should quite rightly take this opportunity to thank the women who are helping in our campaign to pardon Christine Keeler.
Thank you to:
Mum, Chris - for her love, for being my mother, for raising me, for keeping me safe, and for the confidence she gave me through her love.
Felicity Gerry QC - Our barrister for Christine’s pardon
Hannah Marsh - Just started on the campaign, marketing and communications consultant
Julie Otter - A friend who has always been there for support and inspiration.
Fionn Wilson - A passionate supporter of Christine, who wanted to reframe our understanding of her and would go on to curate the ‘Dear Christine’ exhibition
Kate Trigg - Producer of “The Trials of Christine Keeler,” the drama that gave oxygen to this campaign.
Amanda Coe - The writer of “The Trials of Christine Keeler,” for the sympathetic telling of her story.
Tanya Gold and Tara Hanks - who have both championed Christine.
Kacey Ainsworth - for her support and kind words.
My Partner - Lorraine, who has supported and pushed me all the way on this campaign and helps me understand the bias and discrimination in Christine’s story.
My Daughter , Daisy, who is on her own journey to change the world and who is so proud of her grandma Chris.