WOMEN calling for gender diversity in the Alcester Court Leet are carrying on their fight after the historic organisation refused to reform its male-dominated structure.
Residents Emma Randle and Kathrin Foster are continuing to challenge the centuries-old Alcester Court Leet – whose ceremonial tradition is derived from the historic civil courts of England – thought to be the only one of 22 across the country that does not allow women to vote or stand for any positions.
They spoke out at the organisation last year during its AGM and urged High Bailiff Paul Stephens directly to reform the structure to include women.
And after the issue gained social media attention, Mr Stephens accused the women of ‘diminishing’ the tradition to a ‘sexist movement’.
But that was something Kathrin was quick to refute.
She told The Observer: “This is absolutely not true. The group have at every opportunity stated its support of the great work that Alcester Court Leet do, the volunteers that give up their time and effort they put in.
“We want to enhance that and help it to meet the challenges of the 21st century whilst maintaining links to the past – Bromsgrove, Henley and Warwick Court Leet are thriving through their diversity and inclusivity.
“Every other Court Leet in the country – apart from one other – have found a way forward to involve men and women equally. Alcester Court Leet has modified its tradition from being an institution of white church going men to allowing men of any ethnicity and faith. There is no reason for continuing to discriminate on gender in 2020.”
To continue their fight, the women have launched ‘Equa-Leety 4 Alcester’ on Facebook which has attracted some 80 members.
Kathrin added: “The campaign has resulted in an overwhelming response from Alcester residents, men as well as women, and they have come up with a whole host of ideas about how the group can raise awareness. Members of the group are in agreement that there will be no disruption to Court Leet charitable events. This is about opening a debate among the town including letting people know what the Court Leet is about and what it represents.”