International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month

‘Behind every strong woman is herself’ (Community Outreach Mentor, The Parent House)

From the global #MeToo campaign, to the centenary of women’s suffrage in the UK, to the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour report that suggested that Islington was the worst place to be a woman in the UK, the backdrop to International Women’s Day in 2018 made for a momentous occasion.

150 women came together to celebrate the change being made by inspiring women in Islington, and to reflect on the challenges that are still faced by women living and working in the borough. Packing out the Claremont Suite of the Hilton DoubleTree on Pentonville Road, women who live, work and volunteer in Islington shared their experiences.

The work of Islington Giving is made possible by having open conversations. Each year, thousands of local people give their time, ideas and money to change lives in Islington. On the morning of International Women’s Day, a few shared their stories.

Halaleh Taheri, Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation

With MEWSo, Halaleh supports refugees and asylum seekers in the borough, helping women to rebuild their lives and integrate them safely into the community. MEWSo are one of six partners of the Young Catalyst Programme. Young Catalyst offers a chance for young people to think of their aspirations and inspirations, and allows partner organisations the chance to offer direct financial support with no forms and no bureaucracy.

Kirstine Foge Jensen, The Guardian Foundation

We believe that local businesses – large and small – have a role to play in making a difference in our borough. In 2012, alongside the Macquarie Group Foundation, we helped to set up the BIG Alliance, which has since connected over 2,000 volunteers from large businesses based in the borough with Islington schools, colleges and voluntary organisations. The Guardian Foundation were an early partner of the BIG Alliance, and its staff offer mentoring support for young people in Islington. Kirstine is a mentor at City of London Academy Islington.

Gina Camputaro, The Parent House

In 2017, we spoke to families who told us they want ‘a life, not a service’.  There are plenty of excellent services in Islington but families told us they want to lead an ordinary life where they can do the things that others do. This helped us to develop a new approach to supporting families – creating opportunities for them to meet new people, feel part of their community, and develop confidence and skills leading to work. At the Parent House, Gina works with parents to journey towards being active members of their community, reaching out to other parents through peer mentoring and wider support.

BBC London came to the event and spoke to some of the women changing lives in the borough. You can watch their video here.

We would love to welcome you to another of our events, to see first-hand the life changing work happening in Islington. Please get in touch to find out more.

All images credited to Monica Alcazar-Duarte, 2018.