Documentary looks at women’s role in Up-Helly-A’
Women’s participation in Up-Helly-A’ is put under the microscope in a new BBC short film.
The production features activists claiming that women should be allowed to join squads in Lerwick’s fire festival.
Former SMUHA Guizer Jarl Lesley Simpson said: “I think it’s absolutely the same as when women weren’t given the vote, when women weren’t allowed to have a say in anything that happened to them.”
She added: “There are times through history where women have been entirely subjugated and we have to move on from there. It’s wrong.”
The film also features an interview with former Up-Helly-A’ Guizer Jarl David Nicolson, whose brother John led the festival this year.
Mr Nicolson said: “My opinion is the festival works well – why change it? To me, I know how much the women behind the scenes do for Up-Helly-A’.
“Dress-makers who do all the sewing, they love what they do and they see it as that’s their part to play.
“There’s no way that they’re being discriminated against. I think some traditions are changed for change’s sake. I think Up-Helly-A’ is Up-Helly-A’.”
The eight-minute-long video, directed by Harriet Constable, can be watched here.