A Blue Plaque for Cllr Theresa Stewart

A Blue Plaque for Cllr Theresa Stewart

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David Barker started this petition to The Birmingham Civic Society and

Theresa Stewart was the first, and so far only, woman to lead Birmingham City Council - the largest metropolitan authority in Europe. She was first elected as a Labour councillor for the Billesley ward in South Birmingham in 1970 and served her constituents for more than three decades, serving for one year as Lord Mayor. She once described her role as a councillor as, “doing for poor people what lawyers do for rich people”.

Currently, the Birmingham Civic Society only give out blue plaques for people who have died over 20 years ago. We believe the rule should be waived in this instance. Theresa Stewart retired from council over 20 years ago, which gives us hindsight of her legacy. Moreover, being the first women to lead Birmingham City Council is a fact that won't change in another 20 years. 

Theresa's achievements are numerous beyond shattering a glass ceiling. Under her leadership, Birmingham was rated Britain’s best local authority in the 1998 Local Government Chronicle awards. She helped to found the Birmingham Pregnancy Advisory Service, advocated for single parents and women in abusive relationships, campaigning to ensure that the family allowance (child benefit) was paid directly to the mother. She supported Birmingham’s gay community in the early 1970s at a time when other councillors were reluctant to. Ian Ward, the current leader of Birmingham City Council, described her as “an amazing, inspirational and compassionate woman, who made a huge difference” to Birmingham. Harriet Harman MP paid tribute to her as “a pioneer for women’s equality and women’s representation, a true sister to me and others. A truly exceptional woman."

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