POW! Thanet is a celebration, across the whole of Thanet, of International Women's Day. As a result of an exciting collaboration of artists, performers, theatre directors and arts managers the POW!Thanet team has organized a six day series of events in Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs which focuses this year on the global theme of PLEDGE FOR PARITY. For more information on POW! Thanet, go to their website.
POW! have started a regular series of profiles on women movers and shakers in Thanet and here in the Labour Party we're delighted that their first interviewee was Raushan, one of our candidates for this year's Kent County Council elections.
Here's the text of the interview:
Raushan is a familiar face in Ramsgate, having moved here in 1988, in order to open up a family restaurant. ‘I find Thanet to be a very friendly place, and the coast and the beaches are very beautiful. Ramsgate is very different from the others, due to the presence of Royal Harbour - especially at this time of year, when the harbour is illuminated. This makes the area more festive, and makes Ramsgate special. I am proud and happy to live here.’
Anyone who has lived here for so long will have seen changes both positive and negative, and Raushan agrees, ‘Thanet has become far more multicultural, and this has brought about an increase in the availability of food from other parts of the world. There is more of a continental-style cafe culture around the town, as well as by the seafront. This makes it difficult, especially during the summer months, to recognise that one is in Ramsgate, rather than somewhere on the Mediterranean. Sadly, Westwood Cross has caused the demise of the traditional High Street shopping centres, much to the detriment of the small businesses located there, and many of these have been forced to close permanently - a great shame. Ramsgate should be a very busy coastal port, with ferries running to the continent. Unfortunately, we have neither a cross-channel ferry, nor a tourist-orientated pleasure beach. The former Pleasurama site has been derelict for around ten years, and nothing has yet been done about it.’
Raushan has been involved with International Women’s Day for some time, hosting a celebratory lunch at the Ramsgate Tandoori. She believes ‘It is important to celebrate women's achievement and sisterhood, which empowers women and girls. It has been a battle to obtain women's rights, and it has been going on for a long time. Women have been exploited globally, by means of trafficking, slavery, and used as pawns by parents, husbands, brothers, etc. In many countries, women are regarded as second-class citizens. In the professions, equal pay and promotion prospects tend to be reduced for women.’
Raushan hosted our fundraising lunch and will be participating in the festival in 2017. ‘ I will be opening the POW!Thanet International Women's Day in March, with the World Foods celebration at the Ramsgate Tandoori. This event comprises of the guests bringing a dish from their own country or origin, and also dress in their own national costume, to create a global event, under one umbrella. I will be fundraising for Ramsgate Mencap Adult Services. Due to the reduction of government funding ( so-called 'austerity'), this is needed to equip the project at Forrester's Hall, Ramsgate, which offers a bespoke service for young adults with learning difficulties, who need a higher level of learning support. This is a very worthy cause to support, as the government no longer sees fit to finance it. If these clients are not helped from an early age, it will affect them throughout their whole adult lives. This has a knock-on effect upon their parents/guardians/siblings, who may also be seriously affected, both physically and mentally.’
She adds ‘ I would like to see the festival expand, both locally and nationally, and may it empower our sisterhood.‘
Raushan has always been a very active member of the local community, and has great ambitions for 2017. ‘If you want something done, ask a busy person. You really have to enjoy what you do, and I have enjoyed being a mother, and enjoyed being a restaurateur, which is one of the most social professions, where I have the chance to meet and greet people from all walks of life. Being a small business owner in the town, I have been involved with various different community projects over the years, and I have enjoyed helping local charities and causes. This made me interested in standing for civic office. In that way, I feel that I could do even more for the community, and I welcome everyone's support.
I have always been interested in politics. By standing for KCC, I will have a platform to reach out to more people in the area, and represent them at County level. I feel that more women should become involved in politics, and hopefully I can set an example to other women, showing that being a mother and a business woman should be no barrier to being involved in politics.’