A former leader of Preston Council has been chosen to share her story as part of a women’s ‘hall of fame’.
Valerie Wise, now chief executive of Preston Domestic Violence Service, has been recorded for The Sisterhood & After: first oral history archive of the UK Women’s Liberation Movement.
The prestigious archive was launched yesterday as part of the celebration of International Women’s Day.
It was launched by the British Library in partnership with the University of Sussex and The Women’s Library and it depicts the stories of the women involved in the movement.
Valerie, the daughter of former city MP Audrey Wise, said: “They have interviewed 60 women all together for their contribution in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
“I was chosen because of my time in the 1980s when I chaired the women’s committee in the Greater London Council. I was asked would I be willing to talk about my life and what happened at the Greater London Council.
“It was nearly eight hours of interview, which was done nearly 18 months ago, so I have been waiting with bated breath.”
However, she admitted she hasn’t listened to all of the CD yet.
Valerie said in her interview she talked about her own life and that of her mother and said really the people behind the scheme got “two for the price of one.”
She added: “I feel very honoured and privileged. When they got in touch I was stunned.
“I know we did achieve a lot in the 80s in London but when you think of everybody, I didn’t know I would get chosen. It is quite a nice acknowledgement of the role that some of us have played.”
The archive brings together the diverse experiences of the women involved in the movement for the first time, including issues ranging from reproductive rights, equality, independence to marriage and sexual rights.
More than 350 hours of unedited recordings from the archive will be made available in the reading rooms of the British Library, and highlights from the archive, including edited clips, video and contextual information were launched in a new learning website yesterday.
Sixty women have taken part in the project so far, and the archive hopes to continue adding voices and stories over time. Participants include Susie Orbach, author of Fat is a Feminist Issue and Jenni Murray, the voice of Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.