'Women are central to getting things done'

Kenwood Ladies' Pond swimmers outside the Royal Courts of Justice as they battle against the charging structure

Kenwood Ladies' Pond swimmers outside the Royal Courts of Justice as they battle against the charging structure - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

International Women's Day is always a welcome opportunity to shine a light on issues affecting women, particularly if it can bring about positive change.

Tuesday (March 8) is also a chance to celebrate achievements and those women who go the extra mile – millions do every minute.

One thing that has struck me in my time as a reporter is how central women are to getting things done, and the lengths some will go to.

Most recently, members of the Kenwood Pond Ladies' Association stripped down to their swimming costumes outside the Royal Courts of Justice on a cold February morning. 

They say the City of London Corporation, which runs Hampstead Heath, is discriminating against disabled swimmers with their swimming charges.

For two years, the KPLA has been behind the scenes, collecting evidence, carrying out surveys, appealing to the CoLC chiefs.

Disabled swimmer Christina Efthimiou, took the case to the High Court, backed by KLPA members including secretary Mary Powell.

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The ColC denies the claims and a decision is awaited.

A community group at the Mortimer Terrace Nature Reserve has successfully stopped three auctions to sell off the protected land. Women have cared for it for the last 30 years.

Female trustees reached out to Highgate councillor Anna Wright, who approached cross-party wards asking for their community levy money, and got backing from council leader Georgia Gould for the council to buy the site. That should allow this nature reserve to remain with the community in perpetuity.

At a council meeting on Monday, Cllr Gould wanted to acknowledge how well the council was represented by women – with women also in deputy leader, Green Party leader, Lib Dem leader, chief executive, and mayoral and deputy mayoral roles.

To all the mothers, carers, campaigners, activists, politicians, journalists, thank you for not giving up.