INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day next month will be marked by a celebration of political pioneer Jennie Lee.

Born in Fife in 1904, Lee, the daughter of a miner, became a Labour MP, the first ever Arts Minister and was a founder of the Open University.

To celebrate her legacy, Dundee-based theatre company, Knights Theatre, will present two events to coincide with International Women’s Day 2021.

The first, on March 8, will be a panel discussion featuring representatives from the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), the Open University in Scotland and the Federation of Scottish Theatre.

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This will be followed by a rehearsed reading of the latest draft of Jennie Lee: Tomorrow is a New Day, a play by Matthew Knights, on March 12.

Knights said he wanted to make sure her legacy was remembered.

“Jennie Lee’s story is inspiring; coming from a working class background and then going on to achieve all the great things she did, that is a story which still has resonance today,” he said.

“She had a hand in some of the major progressive achievements of the 20th century, big social initiatives like the NHS and the Open University, and I wanted to make sure that her story was told.”

He said he had hoped her story would have a lot of resonance in Fife where she was born but when he began to develop it he found that many people did not know much about her.

“Like a lot of working class history, her story has been neglected but the appeal is timeless and universal,” said Knights.

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“She was a pioneer of social justice, the tenth woman ever to be elected to Parliament before she was even old enough to vote – a fighter and a rebel, a product of the adversity of her disadvantaged background.”

Knights said her story was intertwined with the history of the Labour movement in the UK. “That history is really important to understand as its narrative is the fabric of institutions we still value in Scotland today,” he said.

Tickets for the panel discussion, A Pioneer of Social Justice: Exploring the Legacy of Jennie Lee and Jennie Lee: Tomorrow is a New Day are available via and ONFife.