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September 18th 2021

Online Symposium: ‘Barbara Castle MP – “You’re Only A Woman, What Do You Know About It?”’

The St Hugh’s Alumni Association is delighted to invite you to the online symposium ‘Barbara Castle MP – “You’re Only A Woman, What Do You Know About It?”‘ on Saturday 18 September 2021, 14.00-15.30. Come along to hear from a fantastic panel of distinguished speakers as they discuss Barbara Castle’s life and legacy at the latest in the Association’s series of popular symposia on the achievements of prominent St Hugh’s alumnae. The event will bring to a close the College’s series of celebrations to mark 100 years of Oxford degrees for women.

‘You’re Only A Woman, What Do You Know About It?’ was an impertinent question put by a BBC interviewer to one of the most important politicians of the 20th Century’s post-war years: Baroness Castle of Blackburn PC, Labour MP for Blackburn from 1945 to 1979. She served as Secretary of State for Employment, and for Health & Social Services and, as the only woman ever to be First Secretary of State, she was deputy to Prime Minister of the UK Harold Wilson. Her innovations included creating the Department of Overseas Development; as Minister of Transport introducing seatbelts and the breathalyser test; and Carer’s Allowance and modernised Child Benefit at the DHSS.  Referred to as ‘Battling Barbara’, her energetic determination and staunch Socialism brought her admirers and detractors in great measure.

Barbara Castle read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St Hugh’s College, matriculating in 1929. She was elected an Honorary Fellow of the College in 1966.

Confirmed speakers:

Nicky Morgan (Law, 1990), The Rt Hon The Baroness Morgan of Cotes PC
MP for Loughborough 2010-2019 and former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; and for Education; and Minister for Women and Equalities.

Anne Perkins
Authorised biographer of Barbara Castle (Red Queen, published Macmillan 2003). Former Guardian leader writer, and BBC and Channel 4 News Political Correspondent. Also biographer of Stanley Baldwin and author of A Very British Strike on the General Strike of 1926.

The Rt Hon Jack Straw
Barbara Castle’s Political Adviser when she was Secretary of State for Health & Social Services, and her successor as MP for Blackburn from 1979 to 2015. Former Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Lord Chancellor.

The Rt Hon Emily Thornberry
MP for Islington South & Finsbury since 2005. Current Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade and Shadow Cabinet member since 2011, including as Shadow Foreign Secretary.

Booking information

This event will take place via Zoom webinar. To register to attend, please fill in our online booking form below by 12 noon on 17 September. The event is free, but we ask you to consider making a donation to the College’s Discretionary Fund when you book your ticket. Your gifts to the Discretionary Fund are crucial in helping to support the College’s greatest needs.

Please note that you do not need a Paypal account to make a donation online when you book your ticket. If you would prefer to make a donation over the phone, please do book a free ticket below and telephone Hannah Manito on +44 (0)1865 613839 during office hours (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

Joining details will be sent out to those who have registered the day before the event (please ensure that you enter your email address carefully on the booking form).

Please note that St Hugh’s College’s virtual events may be recorded.

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