TV star, acclaimed novelist and inspirational local women to join Tracy Brabin MP for International Women’s Day Festival

A TV star, an award-winning novelist and a writer who has penned some of the country’s best-loved programmes will be joining inspirational local women for a free one-day festival to mark International Women’s Day and Vote 100.

A day of inspiring speeches, workshops, performances and historical displays will also see talented local women offer their take on a variety of subjects ranging from women in TV and screenwriting to entrepreneurship and the argument for Votes for 16-year-olds.

The packed day will culminate in the screening of an award-winning film which brings to life some of the defining historical moments in the battle for votes for women, Suffragette.

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin said: “This year marks one of the most significant milestones in British history as we mark 100 years of women’s suffrage.

“With this is mind, we want to celebrate inspirational women – local and national and from the past and present – in an exciting and engaging festival where anyone can come along and take part.

“There will be events held the world over celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women and it only seems right and proper that we have something here in Batley and Spen – a place where there’s so much to celebrate.

“All are welcome so please come and join us for what promises to be a fascinating, fun and inspiring day.”

The event will be held at Batley Older People’s Centre on the 24th March between 10am – 7pm and food and drink will be provided.

Who’s Who

The day will see a variety of women take to the stage to deliver talks and workshops on a host of fascinating subjects.

Michelle Collins (women in TV) – Michelle is one of our busiest actors and a passionate campaigner with a CV that ranges across musicals, Coronation Street, theatre, and, of course, EastEnders.

Salma Karolia (being an entrepreneur) – Salma is a hugely successful and influential Batley entrepreneur who runs the award-winning Salma’s Hair and Beauty Academy.

Lisa Holdsworth (writing for TV)  – Lisa is a BAFTA nominated television writer who has written for primetime shows including Waterloo Road, Midsomer Murders and New Tricks.

Mary Creagh (women and the environment) – Mary Creagh is a hardworking and passionate MP who has represented Wakefield since 2005 and is chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.

Frances Brody (becoming a writer) – Frances is an award-winning author of three historical novels and the popular Kate Shackleton Mystery Series set in 1920s Yorkshire and has also written for radio, theatre and television.

Emily Warrilow (votes for 16) – Emily is a Diana Award winning local political activist and campaigner who has already achieved huge successes at the age of 16.

Fazila Aswat (women in the voluntary sector) – Fazila is an indefatigable champion of women’s rights and has extensive experience in the charity sector, including the Royal Voluntary Service.

Debbie Taylor (the Debs effect) – Debbie has been on a remarkable and inspiring journey since discovering a unique, creative therapy to help with her lifelong mental health battle.

What else to expect

Alongside the star roster of inspirational women there will also be music, poetry and a variety of stalls.

The day will include verse from the Batley Poets, a performance from the Bulldogs champion cheerleading squad, Batley Xplosion, an insight into the Conflict and Kindness project inspired by Batley’s Catherine Exley and a history of the heroic local suffragette, Dorothy Elizabeth Evans.

There is more to be announced over the coming weeks, so watch this space. If anyone wants to get involved in the event, please contact Tracy Brabin MP’s office on 01924900036 or email

(The event has been made possible thanks to Batley Smile and The Women’s Vote Centenary Grant Scheme – Small Grants Fund.)













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