Sian Alexander, Executive Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

H&F launches new independent Women’s Equality Commission

Categoriesnews Community, Councillors and democracy

Image captionSian Alexander, Executive Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, will lead the independent Women’s Equality Commission

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has launched a ground-breaking new independent Woman’s Equality Commission. And now, we want to hear from you!

Cllr Sue Fennimore speaking at the International Women's Day event
Image caption: Cllr Sue Fennimore speaking at H&F Council's International Women's Day celebrations

The commission was launched on Friday (8 March) during the International Women’s Day celebrations at Hammersmith Town Hall. Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader of H&F Council, addressed the audience to announce that Sian Alexander, Executive Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, will lead the independent commission.

“I’m delighted to lead the new Women’s Equality Commission for H&F,” Sian said. “It has huge potential to influence lives and promote equality in the borough. But we can’t do it without you. Please get involved by sharing your views and ideas with us.”

Cllr Fennimore added: “We want to hear about the issues that matter most to women who live or work in the borough. And what the new commission should focus on. We’re determined to do things with residents, not to them, and we hope this commission can help deliver real changes.”

Please share your ideas about the issues the commission should address by clicking the button below.

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H&F Council's International Women's Day panel
Image caption: H&F Council's International Women's Day panel. L-R: Cllr Sue Fennimore, Federica Dal Brollo, Janet Ellis, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Caroline Raphael and Eva Hamilton MBE

The International Women’s Day panel

Friday’s International Women’s Day celebrations saw actor, author, and presenter Janet Ellis lead a panel of influential women in a wide-ranging discussion.

Topics included the #MeToo movement and fellow inspirational women. Janet was joined by:

Caroline Raphael, former commissioning editor for comedy and fiction for BBC Radio 4. She now runs her own audio production company and is a champion for women’s equality, BAME and LGBT rights and recognition.

Eva Hamilton MBE, the founder of Hammersmith charity Key4Life which does innovative work to rehabilitate young offenders.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown the journalist, pundit, TV and radio broadcaster who has written for many national newspapers and was the first regular columnist of colour on a national newspaper, the first female Muslim too.

Federica Dal Brollo, who had a formal role at the heart of Hammersmith & Fulham Council as H&F’s Youth Mayor. Together with H&F’s youth council she worked to scrutinise and improve the services young people receive in H&F.

More voices

One of the key questions in the Q&A that followed the panel discussion came from local architect and author Sumita Singha who said she came to the UK from India, only to find politics and business dominated by men.

Since then, she’s served as chair of Women in RIBA, set up the Architects for Change equality forum at RIBA, and is a non-executive director of an NHS trust.

“Fifty per cent of the population may be female – but we don’t have a voice in making decisions,” she said. “Men are making major decisions about women’s lives. We’re powerful because of our numbers, but what can we do to make ourselves heard more?”

In response Eva said: “I think it’s about representation. We have to create a platform, a firm foundation with research and evidence, and we’ve got to choose the people carefully who are going to help.”

International Women's Day questions to the panel
Image caption: Key questions were asked by the audience at the International Women's Day panel discussion