Essex girls are strong women not dumb blondes

Lilian Hicks – Great Holland (1)

INSPIRATIONAL stories from Essex women are being collated to show how much their lives have changed over the last 100 years.

Essex County Council’s (ECC) Cultural Development Team is gathering articles from women in the county for a new arts project called ‘Snapping the Stiletto’.

Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund has funded this £95,445 project, which will operate for two years. The project partners are working with 11 museums across Essex in order to explore their collections and record more hidden inspirational stories of individuals and groups of women in the county, including Harlow.

The aim of this project is to abolish the stereotype of ‘Essex Girls’ from the inspirational stories of ‘Strong Essex Women’. The stories will be shared online as well as in events and exhibitions around the county.

Coun Susan Barker, ECC’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Customer said, ‘Essex women have played a vital role throughout history, and this has only grown more significantly over the last century.

‘I am delighted to celebrate the important history of the role of women in Essex in this landmark year. I am looking forward to hearing about the inspirational stories of women in Essex uncovered by the Essex Record Office and the Snapping the Stiletto project.’

Pippa Smith, Snapping the Stiletto Project Manager, is currently travelling around the county meeting community groups and finding out their interests. So far she has visited Clacton Hindu Temple, the WI, the Girls Brigade and actors from Razed Roof, an inclusive Theatre Company in Harlow.

Coun John Spence, ECC’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Heritage, Culture and Art, said, ‘I am delighted that we have been awarded funding to work with our museum partners in order to shed further light on the fascinating and important history of women in Essex and I am very much looking forward to hearing about the inspirational stories that will be uncovered.’


For more information about Snapping the Stiletto, visit

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Marina Gaiti

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