Women blaze a trail in Cumbria

Date: Monday 14th May 2018

TWO groundbreaking appointments have been made in Eden this week — with Penrith welcoming Cumbria’s first female bishop, and Eden Council announcing it is to have a female chief executive for the first time in its history.

Cumbria County Council is already led by a female chief executive and within the last few weeks the county’s police force has taken on a new chief constable — Michelle Skeer — the first woman to hold the post.

This year has seen events across Britain marking 100 years since women got the vote, and it is certain that those early pioneers of women’s rights would have been pleased to think that, here in Cumbria at least, gender is no longer a bar to high office.

They may, however, have felt that this state of affairs has been rather a long time coming, and been less than delighted at the ongoing issue of a national gender pay gap.

With women still holding just a tiny proportion of top boardroom posts, there is still a long way to go in the search for equality, but in Cumbria there are now women in key positions of power and influence.

Here at the Herald — founded in 1860 — the first woman to join the reporting staff, Evelyn Rae, of Great Salkeld, was taken on in 1956. Until that point, the editorial room had been exclusively male. Like this week’s appointees, Evelyn was a trailblazer.