Amanda, Ellen and Irene at the Conservative club in Tyldesley, Blackpool
Irene James, Amanda Mitchell and Ellen Whiteley, were awarded £3,000 each, plus £26,000 costs in the landmark legal challenge against Tyldesley Conservative Club in Blackpool.
The trio, who said that they felt like “modern-day suffragettes”, claimed they were prevented from joining the club’s committee.
Retired nurse Irene James, 67, housewife Amanda Mitchell, 45, and greengrocer Ellen Whiteley, 57, won an out-of-court settlement last week.
Ms James said: “Before this we had to behave like Stepford Wives. It’s fine if you toe the line but they don’t like it if you speak out. They want you at home making food and behaving like women.
The women wrote to the Conservative Club, claiming discrimination
It’s fine if you toe the line but they don’t like it if you speak out. They want you at home making food and behaving like women
“We will not be silenced, we’ll fight for our rights and we’ll apply again to join the committee this year. Most members are not talking to us now. I won a raffle and someone shouted ‘haven’t you taken enough out of this club?’ We are the modern day suffragettes.”
She added: “Members were making comments at us. One man said no woman will get on this committee. I was also called a witch. It was relentless.”
She first put herself forward for the committee in 2014 but was “encouraged” to withdraw as they felt she had not been a member long enough.
She was told to reapply in 2015 but her partner, Stephen Farley, was told that “women had no right putting their names on the list”.
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The trio won an out-of-court settlement last week
The women wrote to the Conservative Club, claiming discrimination.
They said they were treated with contempt and club members had unleashed a campaign of harassment and sexism.
Ms James said: “The committee told members about the letters we’d been sending. It was outrageous. They were private.”
Back in November 2015, the women claim their names were removed from the candidate list only 10 minutes before the meeting got underway and an all-male committee was elected instead.
Conservative Club officials refused to respond after being asked to comment on the case
Ms James said: “They just didn’t want us because we were female.”
It led them to lodge a sex discrimination case under the 2010 Equality Act at Manchester County Court in January of last year.
Solicitor Tim Fielding said: “It is outrageous that the committee of a members club still have a sexist and outdated attitude to women that would not be tolerated in any other business.”
Conservative Club officials refused to respond after being asked to comment on the case.