Solent Waspi women unveil new banner

TENACIOUS women from across the Solent have unveiled a new banner to support their cause.

By Fiona Callingham
Friday, 13th August 2021, 5:17 pm
Updated Friday, 13th August 2021, 5:18 pm
Artist Mandy Webb and Shelagh Simmons signing the new banner at Baffins Pond Association
Picture: Habibur Rahman
Artist Mandy Webb and Shelagh Simmons signing the new banner at Baffins Pond Association Picture: Habibur Rahman

The local Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) group gathered in Portsmouth on Friday to reveal their new a new flag created by local artist, Mandy Webb.

Waspi women campaign for fair transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s who have had as much as six years added to their state pension age with little, or no, notice.

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Campaigning women in the Portsmouth area demand compensation from government

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The Solent Waspi women Picture: Habibur Rahman

It marks a ‘pivotal moment’ in the group’s campaign as a recent ombudsmen report confirmed maladministration in the way the changes were made.

Solent Waspi co-ordinator, Shelagh Simmons, said: ‘Banners form an important historical part of any campaign – from the women’s suffrage to trades union movements - and ours is no exception. Mandy’s will complement our existing banners, each of which tell part of our Solent Waspi story.

‘We greatly admire Mandy’s work and feel privileged she has chosen to honour us in this way.

‘It’s fitting that Mandy’s banner is ready at this pivotal moment for us. Members nationally and locally are now sending letters to their MPs asking for their support following the ombudsman’s findings. Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan – a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on women’s state pension Inequality – has already written to the secretary of state for work and pensions urging her to “ensure justice is secured for women affected by these changes”.’

Members of the Solent Waspi Picture: Habibur Rahman

The new banner features the group’s logo as well as the names of the areas represented by the Solent collective.

Artist Mandy added: ‘It has been an honour to have been asked to make a banner for the Solent Waspi women. Even through the pandemic, we were able to communicate all the ideas through technology and by sending painted swatches through the post.

‘I look forward to seeing them carrying the banner with their determination for highlighting their fight and getting the justice they all deserve. I am extremely proud to have been asked to create this piece, a piece of herstory.’

It is thought that more than 116,000 women in Hampshire have been hit by the changes to pension age.

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