I salute the memory of Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan, and Leyla Şaylemez, Kurdish women politicians, and the three KJA (Free Women’s Congress) executive members, Sêvê Demir, Pakize Nayir and Fatma Uyar, all of whom paid a heavy price for their progressive political views, their feminist activism, their service to their communities and to the greater good of man and womankind.

Fearless principled women like these carried a torch for all of us and for those that will come after. They celebrated the sisterhood through the struggle for full emancipation and inclusion of women in political democratic life, speaking out and acting against injustice and refusing to be silenced. When women stand together we are a powerful force to be reckoned with. Our collective strength threatens the old world order of patriarchal hegemony. We are increasingly under attack precisely because we are strong! We will not be cowed but redouble our efforts to put women at the heart of decision-making. The example set by the Kurdish women’s movement is an inspiration. Solidarity!

Julie Ward Labour MEP for NW England