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Debate Leaders confirmed for a Women's Parliament at Senate House Library

Debate Leaders confirmed for a Women's Parliament at Senate House Library


We are delighted to announce our four leading inspirational speakers who will open and lead the four exhibition topics for debate in the historic Women's Parliament event being held on Thursday 6 September 2018Senate House Library, part of the University of London, is partnering with 50:50 Parliament to turn the Library's Periodicals Room into a debating chamber for a few hours. 

Empowering through Protest and Politics


Led by Rebecca Manson Jones is a founder member of Women’s Equality Party (WEP), WEP Candidate for Ladywell in Lewisham Council elections 2016 & 2018, Interim CEO at Oily Cart & Founder Artistic Director of  ‘Just  Jones  &’

Rebecca is a founder member of the Women’s Equality Party and was  one  of  the  inaugural  London  list  of  candidates  for  the Women’s  Equality  Party  in  the  GLA  elections in  May  2016. In  October  2016, Rebecca stood  in  the  Brockley  by-election as the  first  ever  local  council  candidate  for  the  Women’s  Equality  Party gaining 7% of the vote. In 2018 she stood again in Ladywell gaining 1188 votes with a vote from 1 of 4 of all the voters. She is part of the working group on Equal Health Care and Medical Research.

Rebecca is also founder artistic director of Just Jones  &.  In  2013  she  was  the  first  UK  recipient  of  the  Ibsen  Scholarship from Norway  Ministry  of  Arts  for  her  innovative  staging  &  adaptation  of  Ibsen’s  An  Enemy  of  the  People.  In  2016  she was awarded  an  artist  commission  by  the  Calouste Gulbenkian  Foundation  as  part  of  their  three-year  Inquiry  into  the Civic  Role of  Arts.  She is co-Chair of What Next  Lewisham?  In  2014  she  won  a  residency  at  Dartington  to  create We  will be  Happy Here inspired  by  grassroots  climate  change  activism. In  2014  she  was  invited  by  Southwark  Arts  Service  to curate  an  arts development  pop  up  in  a  former  Edwardian  Library  in  SE  London  working  with  emerging  artists, community  groups,  and arts  producers. In  2015, Just  Jones  &  won  the  Bentley  commission  to  create  new  short  plays in a former  mining  community. 

Rebecca is currently on secondment as Interim CEO at Oily Cart the UK’s leading multi-sensory theatre company making work for the very young, children with Complex Needs and deaf/blind children. Previously Rebecca held  senior  arts  roles  at  Exeter Northcott  and  The  Almeida  Theatre  and is developing  new  participatory  projects  for  The  Donmar,  Royal  Court,  Theatre Museum/V&A &  West  End  Theatres.   Previous directing credits include A Doll’s House (Exeter Northcott), Romeo and Juliet (contemporary Danish translation) SICK! After Moliere (Almeida) The Day the Patriarchy Died (work in progress site specific) Lewisham Coroner’s Court.

Rebecca studied modern languages at Oxford University and Drama at Central School of Speech and Drama. She  is  an  accredited Action  Learning  Facilitator  supported  by  ACE  Cultural  Leadership  Programme.

Leading through Learning 


Led by Dr Mary Stiasny, Pro-Vice Chancellor & Chair of Leading Women campaign, University of London

Dr Mary Stiasny is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) and Chief Executive of the University of London's International Programmes. Mary also spent four years as Director of Education and Training with the British Council, before moving to the Institute of Education, University of London as Pro Director, Learning and Teaching and International. Having studied at both LSE and Goldsmiths, Mary describes her long association with the University of London as one that she is very proud of, particularly because the University opened up education for women.

Working for Justice 


Led by Harini Iyengar, leading barrister in Employment, Equality and Education

Harini gave expert legal evidence to the House of Commons Inquiry into high heels and workplace dress codes, and has been described by the Times as "a leading campaigner for diversity in the legal profession". 

Harini Iyengar grew up in Manchester, where her immigrant parents were both NHS doctors. She went to Manchester High School for Girls, where all the Pankhurst daughters were educated, as was WEP co-founder Catherine Mayer. She studied at Oxford University before moving to London, where she was called to the Bar in 1999. 

She works full-time and raises three children as their lone parent. Harini stood for the Women's Equality Party in the Greater London Assembly elections in May 2016, and at their first party conference in November 2016 she was elected to Policy Committee as Spokesperson on Equal Representation.

Controlling Mind and Body 


Led by Dr Sonia Adesara, NHS doctor, Co-chair of the young Medical Women International Association, Chair of the Health network of the young Fabian Society & campaigner for Doctors for Choice UK

Sonia Adesara is an NHS doctor and a passionate campaigner for equality and women’s rights. She has seen how women’s health, and women’s experiences with services, is often not prioritized by our policymakers. She is the communications officer for Doctors for Choice UK, which calls for reform of the 50-year-old abortion act that criminalizes women and obstructs professionals from providing optimum care. She is a committee member of Campaign4Contraception, campaigning against cuts to contraceptive and women’s health services.

She has an interest in health policy and is chair of the Health network of the young Fabian Society. Sonia believes that the impact of policies on women, particularly ethnic minority and disadvantaged women, is often not considered by our politicians. Sonia firmly believes we need a more diverse parliament, truly representative of our diverse society, to ensure the lives and experiences of all women are prioritized. 

The Speaker of the House for the Women's Parliament

Frances Scott, Founder of 50:50 Parliament, will be taking on the role of Speaker of the House for the Women's Parliament event.


Frances founded 50:50 Parliament in 2013, being a passionate advocate for better gender balance in Parliament. She has campaigned hard to address this issue from organising events to providing submissions to select committees. When speaking for 50:50 in Canterbury she inspired Rosie Duffield to stand. Rosie then went on to be one of the 12 extra women elected to Parliament in 2017. This was the start of 50:50’s Ask Her To Stand campaign to encourage women along the pathway to Parliament.

Frances is an antenatal teacher with the NCT and has helped support thousands of parents through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. She has sat on the Maternity Services Action Committee at St Mary’s Hospital.

Prior to having a family she had an international career in the hotel and tourism industry. She was involved in conducting economic, marketing and operations analysis throughout Europe and Asia. She was the first woman to be appointed to several of the roles she held in business.


6pm - Public entry to event & welcome drinks (no entry after 6.15pm)

6.30pm - Intro by the Speaker of the Women’s Parliament, Frances Scott 

6.35pm  - Debates begin

7.55pm - Speaker of the Women’s Parliament Round Up (10mins)

8.05pm - Close of session - Voting cards (given at entry) for event feedback & sign up to 50:50 Parliament

8.30pm - End of event

8.45pm - Building closes

This event is an opportunity for people to engage in lively debate on some key issues concerning women's rights, lead by inspirational speakers

This is part of the Rights of Women: London's Pioneers in their Own Words exhibition and events season at Senate House Library. The aim is to give women's voices a platform and a legacy through the Library's 'Continuing Her Story' engagement programme