Birmingham set to shine the spotlight on Black Women at groundbreaking event

Marcia Ore

Birmingham prepares to host ‘Women in the Shade’ conference on Thursday 18th January 2024. This pioneering forum is the first of its kind, dedicated exclusively to exploring the experiences of Black women in policing, public sector and uniformed services.


‘Women In The Shade’ aims to provide a safe platform for Black women to share their stories, discuss the challenges they face and propose innovative solutions to combat the injustices they encounter on a daily basis.

Organised by two inspiring Black women, Karen Geddes QPM and Marcia Ore, who have transitioned from policing but remain deeply committed to the value and impact of the police. Women in the Shade aims to provide a safe platform for Black women to share their stories, discuss the challenges they face, and propose innovative solutions to combat daily injustices. They have joined forces to highlight the visibility and invisibility of Black women in policing.

Karen Geddes QPM

Karen Geddes QPM, a trailblazer in her own right, joined West Midlands Police in 1992 before retiring in 2022. During her career, she rose to become the first Black Female Superintendent in the force and to this date remains the only one to have attained this rank. She was awarded QPM (Queens Police Medal) and was the first Black female to reach the rank of Superintendent in West Midlands Police history. In 2022 she created The Thin Black Line to work with organisations such as policing to reduce disparity affecting the Black community and to build stronger organisations that work for everyone.

Karen said ‘I am proud to have been able to serve my community for 30 years. As I transition away from policing, I still retain a passion to ensure people like me have a sit at the table of change. This conference is an opportunity for people inside the police, other organisations and our community to come together to ensure Black female continue to have a visible part in the conversation about policing.’

Marcia Ore, co-organiser of the ‘Women in the Shade’ conference, is a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant. Marcia Ore’s professional life began as a serving Police Officer from 1982 and was the ‘first’ in a number of roles including being the first Black woman in force training at West Midlands Police. She has spent 30 years championing equality, diversity and inclusion. She held various roles promoting access to policing, served as Vice-chair of the West Midlands Black and Asian Police Association and organised the first conference for Black and ethnic minority women in UK police forces, called Women In The Shade.

” I still deeply believe in policing and the influence it has on society as a role model. Failing to listen to the perspectives of different identities undermines the principles of policing by consent and having the trust and confidence of all those committed to providing a fair and equitable service.”  said Marcia.

The Women in the Shade conference is set to feature an exceptional lineup of speakers, including Mina Smallman, the Church of England’s first female archdeacon, a symbol of resilience in the face of tragedy. Following the loss of her daughters in 2020, she became a vocal advocate for justice, challenging social norms and police practices.  Joining her will be Wendy Williams CBE, a solicitor, who led the independent inquiry into the Windrush scandal.

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham will also be attending the conference as a special guest.

Women in the Shade’s vision; “Creating an environment where Black women’s talents, unique experiences, and perspectives are acknowledged, respected and valued.”

For further information visit The Women in the Shade conference is proudly sponsored by BT.

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