Women, Humour and Power: 100 Years of Suffrage – Panel Event

We are thrilled to be curating this very special panel discussion to celebrate 100 year of Suffrage as part of the Fringe Central Events Programme for Fringe participants.

Women are still fighting for true equality. The first women got the vote 100 years ago and we now have many women in positions of power.

Are we the stronger sex?

How has female humour played its part?

And do men understand us?


We have curated an amazing panel including an award-winning comedian, a banker, an academic, a writer, an entrepreneur and an international showgirl!  We have all bases covered and our guests will share their unique perspectives on what the last 100 years has done for women.

Zoe Lyons – host


Zoe’s trademark high energy, brilliantly observed routines and sharply written material has left her with an ever-growing fan base – she won the Funny Women Awards in 2004 and both the Comedian’s Comedian Award and Chortle Best Club Comic. Zoe debuts her new stand up show ‘Entry Level Human’ at the Edinburgh Fringe, Gilded Balloon Dining Room throughout August followed by 42 date UK tour.  She is also appearing on the new series of Celebrity Masterchef, and Channel 4’s brand new show, Star Boot Sale. She is currently starring in a short film and campaign for Sky, sponsored by TUI. Zoe’s many radio credits include BBC Radio 4’s flagship shows The News QuizJust a MinuteThe Unbelievable Truth and The Now Show. She has her own series commissioned by BBC Radio 4, Passport Paddy, to be broadcast this autumn.

Sarah Williams-Gardener


As one of the founding members of Starling Bank, Sarah leads on Public Affairs for the new challenger bank. Her past experience includes a role as corporate affairs director at IBM UK, supplier and advisor to Government and leading Opportunity Now at the time of the equality reform. Sarah is also a mother of two sons and a farmer’s wife passionate about STEM in education.

Jane Duffus


Jane has worked as a journalist and editor for countless best-selling national magazines and publishers and set up the Bristol based award-winning all-female What The Frock! Comedy project in 2012. Jane published her third book The Women Who Built Bristol in February 2018, to tie in with the centenary of votes for women, uncovering and celebrating the stories of 250 amazing women with a connection to Bristol who also helped to shape Great Britain.

Ivy Paige


International Showgirl, Ivy is the UK’s most famous burlesque performer. She recently appeared on ITV1’s The Voice in front of millions and is now appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Assembly Rooms for the month of August with her new show ‘Seduction’.  Ivy’s YouTube video of The Voice audition has had over 700,500 hits.  Ivy has performed all over the world including the first-ever Burlesque show in The Middle East. In February this year a BBC documentary, From Burlesque Queen to Body Builder hosted by Dr Rani followed Ivy’s journey as she prepared for a fitness competition while also exploring the effects of social media and how exercise helped her battle anxiety and depression. Ivy also has an ectopic heart beat and used to be a size 20 (and now is a size 8). She has a BA hons 1st class theatre degree and a Masters Degree in Arts Management.

Lynne Cadenhead


Lynne is a serial entrepreneur and academic with over 20 years’ investment experience with early stage technology and retail companies throughout the UK. She has worked with a wide portfolio of technology companies, managed two early stage technology venture capital funds, served on over 30 boards and started up a number of her own companies. Lynne is a long-standing member of two Edinburgh Napier University Boards and a key influencer on their Board Governance Programme. In 2017 the University awarded her the prestigious title of Visiting Professor in Governance and Enterprise.  She is also a member of Technology Scotland Advisory Board, Chair of Women’s Enterprise Scotland and a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Women and Enterprise.

Monica Lennon


Winner of this year’s ‘One to Watch’ and ‘New MSP of the Year’ awards, Monica is MSP for Central Scotland; the Shadow Cabinet Spokesperson on Communities, Social Security and Equalities for the Scottish Labour Party; and co-founder of the Scottish Labour Women’s Movement. She is a feminist and an active campaigner on women’s health. This year, Monica’s Member’s Bill to end period poverty will be progressing through parliament – you can read more about it here. She is the Convener of the Cross Party Group on Women’s Health (@CPGWomensHealth), where she leads discussion on topics from the menopause to endometriosis.  We were delighted to work with Monica on her #PeriodPoverty campaign at last year’s Fringe which you can read about here.

This event is free for Fringe participants so book early to avoid disappointment.

This event has been made possible with the support of Starling Bank, the mobile-only bank that takes your money seriously. Through their campaign #MakeMoneyEqual, Starling is promoting the often difficult conversations about money and giving women a voice.

When and where

Fringe Central,

Appleton Tower,

Edinburgh EH8 9LE

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