Wreaths and flowers have been laid at the tomb at Knebworth House by members of the Stevenage and North Herts Fawcett Group to remember women who dedicated their lives to the Suffragette Movement. 

Marking International Women's Day, Cllr Teresa Callaghan, chair of the Fawcett Group, Baroness Taylor of Stevenage, Baroness Thornton of Manningham, former MP Barbara Follett and Stevenage council leader Richard Henry attended the tomb on Saturday, March 11.

In the grounds of Knebworth House is the tomb of Lady Constance Lytton, who devoted her life to the Suffragette Movement. 

The Comet: Wreaths have been laid at the Knebworth Park Mausoleum in memory of prominent suffragette, Lady Constance LyttonWreaths have been laid at the Knebworth Park Mausoleum in memory of prominent suffragette, Lady Constance Lytton (Image: Archant)

Her life was cut short by health complications as a consequence of forcefeeding by authorities while imprisoned for working for votes for women. 

Cllr Sharon Taylor, Baroness Stevenage, paid tribute to Lady Constance: “It wasn’t only women’s suffrage for which Constance worked. She was a great representative of working women and workplace rights; she was a great fighter on prison reform and on the right to birth control. 

"Thank you to Lady Constance and all the women who dedicated their lives so that women today have a voice and economic freedom. But we still have work to do. Equal pay. Workplace rights. Childcare costs. Menopause rights. The fight’s not over. 

“We are thinking especially today of women in Afganistan and Iran, where women’s rights are being forcefully taken away, and particularly the right to an education.”

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Cllr Teresa Callaghan, chair of Stevenage & North Herts Fawcett Group, spoke of the important work of the Fawcett Society and its campaigns: “Fawcett continues to strive to close the gender pay gap, for equal power and representation, to improve women’s safety – including online safety - and ending violence against women and girls. 

"Locally, we have been lobbying Herts County Council to turn street lights back on after midnight across the county to help people – and particularly women – feel safer at night. We welcome anyone – of any gender and any political party – who wants to work towards women’s equality.”

Barbara Follett, the former MP for Stevenage who continues to champion women’s equality, reiterated the importance of paying homage to the women who had come before us.

She said: “We stand on the shoulders of the brave women who came before us. The Suffragettes’ motto was ‘deeds, not words’. 

"We, today, must make sure we carry on that message. We can never take our freedoms for granted – we must take heed at the erosion of women’s rights in America and make sure that that cannot happen here.”

Anyone wishing to join the Fawcett Society should visit www.fawcettsociety.org.uk.