Durham Women’s Gala


Durham Womens Gala poster FINAL

This year we celebrate the centenary of (some) women getting the right to vote. In response to the 1918 Representation of the People Act, the mothers of our movement started a programme of mass political education for newly-enfranchised women, including an annual Gala that ran until 1970s and attracted speakers such as Barbara Castle, Nye Bevan and Clement Attlee. To mark the anniversary, the Women’s Gala is returning to its home of Wharton Park as a free, fun day for all to enjoy on Saturday 30th June, 10.30am-16.00pm.

Like the Women’s Gala events of yesteryear, we will have high-profile female speakers including

Chi Onwurah MP,
Clare Williams,
Vera Baird,
Roberta Blackman-Woods MP,
Liz Twist MP,
Helen Goodman MP,
Sharon Hodgson MP and
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP.

We have live music from Ladies of Midnight Blue, an all-woman brass/afrobeat fusion duo with a focus on social justice, and the Mums in Durham Choir, who found fame on BBC2’s The Choir: Gareth’s Best in Britain.

Expect a day of family fun including mini-golf, mini-cars and football games provided by the Foundation of Light. The Brownies will teach kids how to make solidarity bracelets and mini-Suffragette banners, and families are invited to attend a banner-blessing with feminist vicars in St Cuthbert’s Church after the speeches. You can learn more about the history of the Gala and Labour women’s activism in the North East through our heritage trail and quiz.

Street food vendors from across the North East will provide a range of refreshment from gluten-free, vegan crepes to pizza, Armenian lavash flatbread and chips. There will be a fully-licensed bar selling local tipples including Durham Gin, and Hill Island Brewery have even brewed a special beer for the day.

Women’s organisations and not-for-profits, including Trade Unions, will have the opportunity to organise, recruit and fundraise. There will also be space for voter registration, and we’re teaming up with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust to help the NHS celebrate its 70th birthday.

For more information like us on Facebook, or RSVP to our event.

The Women’s Gala is generously supported by UNISON, the Labour Party NEC development fund, Durham County Council, and women across the North East.

Increasing democracy for young women with the Labour Party NEC Development Fund

We are extremely grateful to the Labour Party NEC Development Fund 2018 members for a very generous donation of £3,000 towards Durham Women’s Gala.  

The money is granted is from the Diversity and Democracy category of the NEC fund. Our aim is to encourage two specific groups of disenfranchised young women to register to vote and become involved in the Labour and Trade Union movement wherever possible. The groups we will be working with are young care leavers and women from minority ethnic groups.

Thanks to this donation we are developing an effective educational resource to use at the Durham Women’s Gala on Sat 30 March. It is our intention to leave a legacy of resources that will be used after the event.

We would like to thank the County Durham MPs, Labour MEPs and the leader of Durham County Council who supported our application.

The Friends of the Women’s Gala Ltd would like to thank you all for a major boost to our 2018 Durham Women’s Gala celebrating 100 years of votes for women.Votes_For_Women poster suffragette


Durham Women’s Gala set for 30 June 2018

Women Female Feminism Lady Madam Friends Concept

2018 marks 100 years since women in the UK were give the vote. Women across County Durham came together in September 2017 and agreed to organise a FREE celebration event in Wharton Park in Durham.

The date has confirmed as Saturday 30 June 2018.

For decades women in County Durham organised their own Gala. At its peak, it attracted thousands of people and saw speakers such as Barbara Castle, Jennie Lee and Harold Wilson. In this centenary year of women’s suffrage, we are bringing it back to celebrate how much women in County Durham have achieved, and to look at ahead at what must still be done.

The Women’s Gala itself will take place in Wharton Park on Saturday 30 June 2018, 12pm-4pm.

There will be speakers, live music, refreshments, crafts, mini golf, mini cars, football, women’s section banners, voter registration, and spaces for unions and not-for-profit organisations to recruit and fundraise. All are welcome regardless of gender, and families are particularly encouraged to attend. Entry will be free.


You can contact us at womensgala@outlook.com