The most amazing woman you never heard of? Single mum; war correspondent; businesswoman; writer; educator; activist; political radical; patriarchy-smasher: if you’ve read “In Search of Mary” by Newington Green resident Bee Rowlatt you’ll know that Mary Wollstonecraft was a woman ahead of her time (and still is? Discuss…).
She spent some of her most formative years in Newington Green, attending the chapel that sits just inside Hackney on a green square that’s shared with Islington.
Yet, the woman who proposed equal rights for half the planet – in an era when others like Rousseau said a woman’s job was to be silent and please her man – has no monument. How can this be?
Every fella who was good at leading an army and killing foreigners seems to have a monument in Westminster, even if they were widely regarded as a rogue (Clive of India, for example).
We’ll be asking some questions about where her monument is and hearing stories of famous women who passed through Hackney on their way to making their mark on the world. From performers to Suffragettes to international terrorists, a huge variety of interesting women have walked the streets of Hackney before ending up on the pages of history.
We’re going to get special after-hours access to Abney Park cemetery at the beginning and to Mary’s very own Unitarian Chapel at the end. On the way, we’ll discover some hidden history in Hackney, make noise and have some fun. Bring some lights to be safe on the streets and we’ll do a mini reclaim the streets. Bring attitude and an enquiring mind and we’ll ask some questions to keep gender equality – whatever that means to you – on the radar.
You should be able to run (slowly) for 10 mins without stopping. This event is about inclusivity, so we won’t be haring off and leaving anyone behind. It’s about everyone being in it together. Mary didn’t want women to be better than men, just the best that they could be themselves.
As a personal trainer in the mornings and a tour guide by day, you’ll be in safe hands with me, the founder of Hackney Tours. Afterwards, we’ll repair to the nearby Lady Mildmay pub for some deserved (ahem) ‘carb loading’ and some chat with new friends.
Come. Be part of it. Get involved. Get inspired. Mary blazed a trail for anyone who’s ever stood up for gender equality. Symbols are, um, highly symbolic. She needs a monument. She deserves a monument. Let’s make that happen.
More information – see Mary on the Green (maryonthegreen.org)
Proceeds to Mary on the Green and also Abney Park cemetery trust – maintaining a vital resource in Stoke Newington that’s home to many who fought for religious and gender equality and an end to slavery.
Thanks to the best place for fitness (and the best value too) London Fields Fitness Studio E8 for help with publicity.