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THE very first black woman student to be elected President of the University of Leicester Students’ Union, will be returning to Leicester nearly 50 years later to headline events marking International Women’s Day.

Picture: University of Leicester

Esua Jane Goldsmith, is a writer, feminist, activist and development consultant of English-Ghanaian heritage. Her event, Full Circle – An evening with Esua Jane Goldsmith takes place on Tuesday, March 8 at 6:30pm, and will feature readings from her 2020 best-selling memoir, The Space Between Black and White.

The free event will focus on her time at Leicester, her mixed-race identity, and what it means to be a feminist.

During her talk, Esua will also address contemporary topics including the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement, the pandemic and the climate crisis.

Speaking ahead of the event, Esua Jane Goldsmith said: “I’m really excited about returning to the University of Leicester. This event is a chance to not only share memories of my time there and discuss the challenges I have faced throughout my entire life, but also to address the very same challenges that continue to affect women today.

“When I was President of the Students’ Union, I had to go to Senate meetings with 90-odd white guys, so I always turned up wearing banana yellow and big hair to scare the mortar boards off them.

“As a student, I was active in the Women’s Liberation and Anti-Apartheid Movements. For me, Feminism was always about the profound intersection between Race and Gender oppression, and other forms of injustice.

“In the 1970s we Feminists used to say we didn’t believe in equality; we had something better in mind! Something more transformational. In 2022, we need to re-imagine a better future created with Feminist values of well-being, caring, and quality of life at its heart.”

Professor Henrietta O’Connor, Head of the College of Social Science, Arts and Humanities at the University of Leicester said that it was thrilled to welcome Esua Jane Goldsmith for what promises to be a “really inspiring event.”

“Through her incredible campaign work and her lifelong dedication to promoting equality, Esua fully embodies what it means to be a Citizen of Change,” she added.

“We’re proud to be hosting her event, along with several others, to mark International Women’s Day 2022 and we hope that these important conversations continue to promote awareness of the challenges and inequalities that are still faced by women every day.”

Esua has acted as Commissioner for the Women’s National Commission, Chair and Co-Founder of the Gender and Development Network, Vice Chair of Action Aid UK, a Trustee of the Equality and Diversity Forum and a member of the UK Government delegation to the UN Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995.

In 2001, she became the first woman of colour to be elected Chair of the Fawcett Society.

In 1977-9, Esua served as one of the first black volunteers to be sent on Voluntary Service Overseas in Tanzania.

She currently lives in Tooting, South London, and works on Feminism campaigning, Anti-racism, promoting the issues raised in her Memoir. Working through her Consultancy, Anona Development, which she established in 1995, she helps Feminist and human rights organisations develop strategies and systems for a more equal, transformed and sustainable world.

Full Circle – An evening with Esua Jane Goldsmith is a free, ticketed event. Tickets are available via Eventbrite.

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