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Interview with Chris Duffin

February 22, 2017

Chris Duffin was the First Woman Governor Grade at HMP Strangeways, the notorious, category-B male prison.  She talks to First Women about what she learnt on the job from prisoners, peers and the public reaction to her posting. ‘When I started at Strangeways, my Mentor was the wonderful Peter Pope. I was very lucky as he was one of the most rebellious governors I have ever met. He always said, ‘its easier to obtain forgiveness than permission’ whenever I got anxious about procedure. read more

Interview with Deta Hedman

January 21, 2017

Currently ranked World Number 2 by the World Darts Federation and the First Woman to beat a male player in a major televised darts tournament, Deta Hedman AKA ‘The Dark Destroyer’ explains how to stay cool when a male competitor ‘fist pumps in your face’ and tensions run high on the mixed competition oche… ‘Try not to approach your passion in terms of winning or losing’ I think about a darts match simply as an enjoyable experience, not as something I have to win or that I might read more

Interview with Bishop Libby Lane

December 14, 2016

On the 26th January, 2015, Elizabeth Jane Holden became the first woman Bishop of the Church of England. Her consecration came more than 20 years after women were permitted to become priests. The Archbishop of Canterbury heralded the moment as ‘a completely new phase of our existence,’ but many opposed the appointment. First Women spoke to Bishop Libby about her experience of heralding such an important shift in what has always been a traditionally male-dominated institution. ‘Change read more

Interview with Pauline Clare

November 13, 2016

Across Britain, the number of female police officers is on the rise, but women still only constitute about 30% of the UK police force. Pauline Clare, Britain’s first female Chief Constable shares the life lessons she has learned on her journey to one of the most important jobs in the country. Rather than, ‘I failed’, think, ‘for what good reason didn’t that happen?’ When I didn’t get through the election process to access the higher ranks, it would have been easy to tell myself read more

Interview with Alison de Burgh

October 14, 2016

The First Woman to become a stage and screen fight director, Alison de Burgh is no stranger to bows, knives and swords. She shares with First Women her journey to her first which, it seems, was no less of a battle… I think men guard the status quo through fear When I told a colleague that I wanted to be a fight director, they said: ‘they’ll never let you.’  And yes, they were pretty mean to me. Men had allowed testosterone to drive their work in the role. I think they were afraid that read more

100 portraits now complete!

September 26, 2016

Seven years, over 100,000 miles and a cornucopia of locations from a Team GB boxing ring to the House of Lords: the one hundred portraits that comprise the First Women project are finally complete! In this blog, Anita reflects on her experiences of creating this extraordinary collection…   ‘From the moment I conceived of First Women, it was as if it took on a life of it’s own. Almost as if it had a ‘will’ to be completed and I was just facilitating that,’ says Anita. ‘I read more

Interview with Lara Prior-Palmer

August 26, 2016

Lara was the first woman to win the Mongol Derby – and doesn’t seem phased by much at all. Using ‘fear as the inspiration to seek out truth’ her adventurous life-view led Lara to compete in and win one of the toughest horse races in the world when she was just 19. ‘The Mongol Derby is the longest, toughest horserace and I was convinced I wouldn’t finish’ ‘You ride twenty-five ponies over 1000km. Most competitors take a year to prepare – I stumbled in 6 weeks before, read more

Interview with Katy Cropper

July 4, 2016

The First Woman to win ‘One Man and His Dog’ – in the face of ‘competition, small-mindedness and having been put down by most men in the dog running world all my life.’ ‘When I was invited to participate in One Man and His Dog, I thought it was a joke’ But it was true. They called me and invited me to take part. My dad came to watch me – and for the first time he was proud of me. I had been so wild as a child, I was terrible at school and he’d never come to watch me do read more

And the Tour continues… The Visible Girls showcase at #PunkLondon!

June 27, 2016

35 years on, the Visible Girls are still drawing crowds. This time, it was the punks taking centre stage at the Punk Weekender. The event was held at The Photographers’ Gallery in central London, the original independent gallery dedicated to the photographic image. It wasn’t their first visit, either. It was in 1984 that the Visible Girls first adorned those walls and there they were again, 32 years later: Shelley and Di, Badger and Maria, Margi and Samantha – not framed prints this read more

Education, Education, Education!

June 24, 2016

One of our core values at the First Women project is education. Education about the pioneering spirit and the socio-historical role of women. Education to help us better understand our culture and its values. Education to engender the passion to ask questions, provoke thought and instigate discussion on these topics. All of this ultimately brings about progress, cultural evolution, and positive change, subjects close to the heart of the First Women project. In this spirit, it has been a read more