THE SHADOW attorney general has called for more affirmative action in the struggle for women's rights.

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti was addressing a small but enthusiastic crowd that braved the rain to support the Durham’s Women's Gala on Saturday.

She said: "I believe in affirmative action. We need to speed up the pace of change. Not just at the top table of power but all the way down."

She added: "All around the world at this moment women's rights are under attack. We have come so far in the last 101 years, but we have a long way to go and there is pushback.

"If you needed a reminder of that you have it. He arrived in this country, mercifully for a few days, last week. He (Donald Trump) is the embodiment, he is the reminder, that all over the world there is a push back against human rights and women's rights, including their reproductive rights."

The Durham Women’s Gala, which was an annual event for many years, was staged again this year in the city’s Wharton Park, after being revived to mark the 2018 centenary of women’s suffrage.

The event also included speeches from Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird and young campaigners from Tyneside to Teesside.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Baroness Chakrabarti said: “It’s wonderful to be here, at the Women’s Gala in Durham, yes in a bit of drizzle. It really is an important event.

“I am so glad it has been reinstated, as of last year. As we’ve seen with Donald Trump in America and other leading figures around the world, we cannot take our women’s rights for granted, or our human rights.”

“We have to push forward, because otherwise we will be pushed back.

“We have come so far in 100 years. We have a long way to go, including to improve our equality laws –to beef them up, to give them more teeth, so that women can be paid fairly and treated with dignity at work and in every aspect of their lives.”

Event organiser and Durham county councillor, Maura McKeon, said: “The Women’s Gala is important because it gives a variety of women who might not otherwise be able stand on a stage and speak their mind the opportunity to do so.

"Sharifah Rahman has spoken of her experiences as young worker in the North-East and the sexism that she has faced, while Pat Heron spoke of her experience of misogyny she has faced in a much longer life.

"And I have spoken on my experiences of being a woman in political life."

She added: "The point of the Women’s Gala is removed barriers, to let women who wouldn’t otherwise be political or have the opportunity to get involved in politics a chance to explore their political views and to develop into political women."

There was a full day of entertainment with live music from North-East female artists including Channy Thompson, girl band Melody 5 and Jessie Dale.