Another brilliant Dorset Women’s Week in 2018

A massive thank you to everyone involved in running events during Dorset Women’s Week 2018  which resulted in another brilliant week!

The week ended with another fantastic Dorset Women’s Day!  Thank you to all the amazing workshop leaders; stallholders; and performers!  And thank you to everyone who came along despite the wet weather.

Congratulations to prize winner Sally who won the box of Lush goodies for giving us feedback on the day.

We hope you all enjoyed it.  Please see below for a selection of photos from Dorset Women’s Day.

Update to Dorset Women’s Week Programme: Boadicea of Britannia Street

Please note the fundraising event of the Boadicea of Britannia Street for DAIT will now be on SUNDAY 4th MARCH  at  4pm still at Cerne Abbas Village Hall.
Tickets can be bought via Molly on 01305 268572 or at Cerne  Village Stores.
One of the actors had to pull out due to circumstances beyond her control another actor is stepping in but is unable to perform on the 8 March so the date has been changed for this performance.  There will therefore be no performance on 8 March.
Check out the WAND Facebook page for any further updates to Dorset Women’s Week or Dorset Women’s Day.

Dorset Women’s Week 2018 – Programme Published

WAND is excited to publish the Dorset Women’s Week 2018 Programme!  The week runs from 3-10 March and culminates again in Dorset Women’s Day.

We have lots of fantastic events and opportunities during the week including events at Bridport Art Centre, The Successful Women Conference and a session ‘Post-Domestic Abuse: Creative Strategies for Coping with Life’ being run by our patron Tracey West. See programme for details.

Dorset Women’s Day is on on Saturday 10 March (at the Dorford Centre, Dorchester) and has a wide range of exciting workshops including cross stitch, bookbinding, healthy eating and how to sleep well to name just a few!  Following the success of last year we have the Borough Garden’s House as our additional location again which will host workshops including African drumming, belly dancing and yoga. You’ll need to book at the Dorford Centre for workshops at both locations. 

We have some brilliant performances in the main hall throughout the day, along with stalls selling a range of products and information stands. See the Programme for more details.

Our amazing catering team will be selling drinks and delicious sandwiches and cakes. We also have our Rummage Room so come and have rummage and pick up some new to you.  If you have anything you’d like to donate please bring it along on the day.

A huge thank you to everyone who is giving up their time to run a workshop, perform, have a stall as well as the brilliant team behind the scenes making this a fabulous day.

This year is extra special as we celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage.  WAND patron Tracey West says:

“‘Suffrage’ is the right to vote in public affairs and political elections. It commonly marks the long and winding road that describes female emancipation and universal suffrage for women, which is being highlighted throughout February across the country.

WAND is hosting a week of inspiring events that chime with the passion roused within the suffrage movement. It happens to coincide with the centenary of The Representation of the People Act, 1918, the commencement of which finally allowed British women over the
age of 30, who met certain property qualifications, to vote for the first time. They went on to exercise that right at the general election later that year.”

We hope you can join us!

If you have any queries please email or call WAND on 07956 896114.


100 Years of Women’s Suffrage

WAND Patron Tracey West gives a summary of the suffrage movement as we celebrate 100 years of The Representation of the People Act, 1918 which was passed on 6 February 1918.

‘Suffrage’ is the right to vote in public affairs and political elections. It commonly marks the long and winding road that describes female emancipation and universal suffrage for women, which is being highlighted throughout February across the country.

WAND are hosting a week of inspiring events that chime with the passion roused within the suffrage movement. It happens to coincide with the centenary of The Representation of the People Act, 1918, the commencement of which finally allowed British women over the age of 30 who met certain property qualifications, to vote for the first time. They went on to exercise that right at the general election later that year.

The suffragettes were a phenomenally fearless and driven group of ladies. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they rose up in a variety of ways that included lobbying MPs and disrupting the House of Commons and Parliament. By 1903, Emeline Pankhurst, founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union, decided the movement needed to be more radical if change was ever going to come and their campaign became positively militant. Property and art were frequently destroyed and their members were regularly incarcerated. They protested frequently by embarking on hunger strikes, to which the authorities retaliated by force-feeding them; this evil process was only suspended due to the outbreak of war in 1914.

Tragically, suffragette Emily Wilding Davison gave her life to highlight the cause by throwing herself under the king’s horse in the 1913 Derby. Her half-brother, Captain Henry Davison, gave evidence about his sister at the inquest, saying she was, “A woman of very strong reasoning faculties, and passionately devoted to the women’s movement”.

Long before the suffragettes came along, Elizabeth Heyrick was another lady of guts and substance. She was a political reformer in the anti-slavery movement and in 1824 she published a pamphlet: ‘Immediate, not Gradual Abolition’. She campaigned passionately in favour of the emancipation of slaves in the British colonies, thereby rocking the boat and challenging the system. William Wilberforce was a man onside with the idea of change. He batted on the same team and went on to become the voice of the abolition movement in Parliament. Yet commenting about Elizabeth Heyrick, he disparagingly said, “For ladies to meet, to publish, to go from house to house stirring up petitions – these appear to me proceedings unsuited to the female character as delineated in Scripture”.

Emeline, Emily, Elizabeth and countless other women have endured unimaginable pain and hardship as a result of their tireless activism in the fight for women’s rights. They’ve bravely stuck their heads above hostile parapets calling for social reform and trying to evoke positive change. Speaking as one who has tried to do it in respect of domestic violence, I can tell you it usually comes at a price.

History more frequently recounts the actions of suffragettes who were unashamedly physical activists. It talks far less about suffragists, who also campaigned vehemently for women’s right to vote, but they adopted a completely different strategy to draw attention to the cause.

Under the leadership of Millicent Fawcett, a peaceful corps of women were consolidated. Millicent headed The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies for over 20 years, which was founded in 1897 via the merger of the Central Committee, National Society for Women’s Suffrage and the National Central Society for Women’s Suffrage.

They truly believed they’d achieve their end using peaceful tactics with non-violent demonstrations, via petitions and the lobbying of MPs. Millicent believed that if their organisation was perceived to be intelligent, polite and law-abiding, they’d prove themselves ‘responsible enough’ to participate fully in politics.

Millicent’s peaceful methods were unquestionably pivotal in helping to secure the vote for six million British women and a statue of her holding a placard that says, ‘Courage calls to courage everywhere’ is being erected in Parliament Square, London. She used these words in an address she gave following the death of Emily Wilding Davison.

As history sprinkles a layer of dust on the stories of these important women, we must remember our right to vote was hard won – that ‘X’ really matters.

Suffragettes of Note

Ethel Smyth: composed the suffragette battle anthem, The March of the Women. She responded to Emeline Pankhurst’s call to break a window in the house of any politician who opposed votes for women and along with 100 women, she was arrested and served 2 months in Holloway Prison. When Thomas Beecham went to visit her, he found suffragettes marching in the quadrangle singing, as Smyth leaned out of a window conducting the song with a toothbrush.

Kitty Marion: a successful music hall artiste, she worked her way up from the chorus, to named parts, to stand-in for a lead role, before falling out with her employer. She continued to seek work in the music halls and discovered that some employers expected sexual favours in exchange for the best jobs. Marion became a prominent activist in the suffrage movement, frequently engaging in protests and was arrested numerous times. Her activism led her to be force-fed more than 200 times in 1913 alone.

Edith Rigby: joined The Women’s Social and Political Union and was spat at in the street by her neighbours. She marched on the Houses of Parliament in 1908 and was arrested with 56 other women. She served a month in prison and took part in hunger strikes and was subjected to force-feeding.

Mary Leigh: an active suffragette, was incarcerated at Winson Green Prison. She protested by breaking her cell window, whereupon she was moved to the punishment cell and immediately commenced a hunger strike. Her account of being force-fed is harrowing. She documented: “I was then surrounded and forced back onto the chair, which was tilted backward. There were about ten persons around me. The doctor then forced my mouth so as to form a pouch, and held me while one of the wardresses poured some liquid from a spoon; it was milk and brandy. After giving me what he thought was sufficient, he sprinkled me with eau de cologne, and wardresses then escorted me to another cell on the first floor. The wardresses forced me onto a bed (in the cell) and two doctors came in with them. While I was held down a nasal tube was inserted. It was two yards long, with a funnel at the end; there was a glass junction in the middle to see if the liquid was passing. The end was put up left and right nostrils on alternate days. Great pain was experienced during the process, both mental and physical. One doctor inserted the end up my nostril while I was held down by the wardresses, during which process they must have seen my pain, for the other doctor interfered (the matron and two other wardresses were in tears) and they stopped and resorted to feeding me by spoon.”


Another brilliant Reclaim the Night

We held another fantastic event on Saturday 25 November 2017.  The amazing Organic Rhythm led us in a drumming workshop.  We then took to the street and drummed as we marched to ‘Reclaim the Night’ in Dorchester.

We enjoyed a delicious supper by our fab catering team and then raised a wonderful £650 from the charity auction run by our marvellous Patron Tracey West (including a donation).  The money raised will be split between The Shores (sexual abuse referral centre) in Bournemouth and the Dorset Dorset Women’s Crisis and Information Centre (the new name for the West Dorset Women’s Refuge since it moved).

A huge thank you to the WAND Core Group for organising, to everyone who attended (including Organic Rhythm, and of course to all the generous people and organisations who donated:

  • Aster Housing
  • Blue Wizard Tattoo
  • Cook
  • Ford Farm
  • Goulds
  • Great Western Camping
  • Homechester House Residents
  • Lush
  • Magic Oxygen
  • Medusa
  • Melbury Gallery
  • Neals Yard Remedies Organic Consultant Jo Saunders
  • New Street Bakery
  • Toymaster
  • Walnut Grove
  • Wessex Photo
  • Yarlbury Cottage
  • Plus a number of individual donations

Reclaim the Night 2017

Everyone in Dorset is invited to join WAND for its annual Reclaim the Night event on Saturday 25 November from 6.30pm-10.30pm at the Town Hall in Dorchester.

WAND – Women’s Action Network Dorset – is hosting the night to link in with “International End Violence Against Women Day” held each year on 25 November.

Tickets cost £3, to be bought on the door, and include a drumming workshop with the wonderful Organic Rhythm, a buffet supper and a charity auction.  The main event of the evening will be a short march through the Dorchester streets to ‘Reclaim the Night’.

The march through the streets is our way of raising awareness of the vulnerability faced by many women through domestic violence and abuse, rape, and honour based violence.  While the event has a serious theme, it’s a really fun evening.

Some of the money raised from the auction will go to support the children of the West Dorset Woman’s Refuge, including paying for an outing. The remaining money will be going to The Shores (the Dorset Sexual Assault Referral Centre) in Bournemouth to support their valuable work.  Last year we raised over £700 at event (including a couple of generous donations).

We are again welcoming anyone who wishes to contribute towards ending violence against woman – so this will not be a female only event – it is open to everyone.

While WAND recognise that domestic violence doesn’t just affect women and that men can also be subjected to it, as a women’s organisation Reclaim is still focused on support for women.

So please come along to our friendly event which promises a fun evening despite its serious message.

For more information or if you would like to make a donation to the charity auction please contact or call 07980 140216 (please leave a message because the phone is not monitored all day).


The WAND AGM for 2017 is nearly here and this year we are excited to welcome Louise Johnson who will give us ‘An Introduction to Burlesque’ including a bit of history and a demo with audience participation!

The meeting is taking place in Borough Gardens House in Dorchester on Wednesday 21 June from 6pm – 7.30pm.  The whole event is free to attend.

Following a short report from the organisation detailing the work they have done over the previous year to host events such as Dorset Women’s Day and Reclaim the Night plus the support they have offered to partner organisations such as the Women’s’ Refuge and the Shores (Sexual Abuse Referral Centre) in Bournemouth, attenders will be offered a FREE delicious cream tea.

WAND Chair said : “Our AGM is a great opportunity to come along and find out about WAND if you’re not sure what we do.  It’s also a great place to meet up with friends, have a delicious cream tea and this year learn about Burlesque (and have a go!)  – and all for free! We’re always looking for new volunteers to join the Core Group or to help with our events. We hope you’ll join us.”

For further information, contact WAND or call WAND on 07379 426525 (please leave a message because this is not answered all day).

(Borough Gardens House is located on the south west end of Borough Gardens – close to the Fairfield (market) car park).

Thank you to everyone involved in Dorset Women’s Week 2017

WAND would like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in making Dorset Women’s Week a success!

The week ended in Dorset Women’s Day which was fantastic!  Thank you to all the workshop leaders (especially those who stepped in at the last moment due to sickness), to the stall holders, and the amazing performers!  And thank you to everyone who came along.

Congratulations to Sheonagh Ravensdale and Angie Rolph who won the prizes for giving us feedback.

We hope you all enjoyed it.  Please see below for a selection of photos from Dorset Women’s Day.

Dorset Women’s Week 2017 – Programme Launched

WAND is excited to launch the 2017 Dorset Women’s Week Programme!  The week runs from 4-11 March and culminates again in Dorset Women’s Day.

We have more fantastic events and opportunities this year during the week including a Guided Tour of Arne Nature Reserve, Feminine and Fabulous confidence building workshop, Well Women Yoga and free swimming and exercise classes at Oxley Leisure Centre.

Dorset Women’s Day on Saturday 11 March, at the Dorford Centre has a wide range of exciting workshops including bike maintenance, flower arranging, assertiveness, African drumming, a ukulele crash course, ballet, and permaculture principles, to name just a few!

We have some brilliant performances in the main hall throughout the day, along with stalls selling a range of products and information stands. See the Programme for more details.

Our fabulous catering team will be on hand to sell drinks and delicious sandwiches and cakes. We also have our Rummage Room so come and have rummage and pick up some new to you.  If you have anything you’d like to donate please bring it along on the day.

A huge thank you to everyone who is giving up their time to run a workshop, perform, have a stall as well as the brilliant team behind the scenes making this a fabulous day.

Women’s Week is support by our WAND patrons:

“It’s Dorset Women’s Day again, how fabulous! We meet once more ladies, in the wake of the most powerful women’s marches on the planet too. All across the world, the value of sisterhood was shaken up that day and continues to be fully realised.

Women are incredible humans; we’re equals, we have value, we have a voice and we shouldn’t be afraid to use it to protect our rights and to make the world a better place. I look forward to seeing you all today and celebrating the very best of West Dorset’s women.” Tracey West

“Congratulations and thanks to WAND for using today to bring focus and attention to women locally and across the world. It has seldom been more important to preserve our gains and continue to champion women in all walks of life and connect with women of other cultures, and not just on International Women’s Day but on each of the remaining 364 days of the year, every year. But for now Enjoy the Day!” Harriet Waters

We hope you can join us!

If you have any queries please email or call WAND on 07379 426525.


Reclaiming the Night

Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Reclaim the Night another fantastic event.  Around 30 people took part, starting with the fabulous Organic Rhythm drumming workshop.  We then headed outside for our annual march through the high street.  We headed back to the town hall for a delicious supper and then on to the auction hosted by our patron Tracey West.

A huge thank you to everyone who donated prizes – including books from Waterstones, handmade cards and beaded jewellery, hampers from Unison, toiletries from Lush, Abbotsbury Children’s Farm, Bournemouth Aquarium, Pecorama, Athelhampton House and Vivi Lounge to name just a few. A special thank you to the West Dorset Women’ Refuge Welfare Committee who donated prizes they’d collected for an event that they’d had to cancel.

We raised a fantastic £702 pounds from the auction and tombola.  The funding raised has been spilt between the West Dorset Women’s Refuge and the Sexual Assault Referral Unit (SARC) in Bournemouth.