Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development, blogs about how the Council is supporting and inspiring women in Islington

This week, to celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March), I attended a number of events across Islington celebrating the contribution that women make to the borough, and heard from many inspirational female speakers.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. The theme for 2017 is ‘Be Bold for Change’, with individuals and organisations declaring bold actions to forge a more gender inclusive world. Through collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash unlimited potential.

We are committed to making Islington a fairer place for everyone, which also means making it a fairer and safer place for women. Our recently-launched Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy prioritises prevention and early intervention, addressing perpetrator behaviour and responding to complex pressure on individuals. VAWG is everyone’s business. We are sending a clear message that it will not be tolerated in any form.

I am proud of Labour-run Islington Council’s record in supporting women in the borough. Since 2014, we have helped 981 parents -; mostly women -; into work. Employment is one of the key routes out of poverty, which is why we are prioritising supporting residents into sustainable employment.

This year, the Islington Women’s Staff Forum asked the local community to nominate women who live and work in the borough who have made a bold contribution to gender equality. Six women were chosen from the nominations and their stories have been made into a digital artwork, which was unveiled on Thursday 9th March. These women are:

  • Suzanne Lee, Artistic Director of community arts organisation All Change
  • Liz Hogarth, criminal justice campaigner
  • Jamad Abdi, Bilingual Family Support Worker
  • Anita Grant, Director of Islington Play Association
  • Jennifer Savage, Practice Manager of the Pause project
  • Polly Mann, who has run the St Luke’s History Group as a volunteer for over a decade

From actresses to activists to mothers to mechanical engineers, Islington is home to inspiring women from all walks of life. Of course, we should be celebrating and supporting them throughout the year -; not only on International Women’s Day.


Pictured – Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development

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