Today is International Women’s Day and a great day to acknowledge the impact on our society of people who have impacted the lives of many others around them. The following are just a few people who I know and have worked with who I would love to see in one place, brought together to address some of the issues which seem to challenge all of us. In the world of policing there are many hundreds I have had the privilege to meet whose impact is different to the men they work with, but at least as equal. They include Rosie Ross who has recently been promoted, and to be honest I am not sure of her rank. Also Lisa Bell who has recently taken over as Divisional Commander in Brighton and Hove. A shining star in the equalities team at Sussex Police who is just about to begin a secondment in the Local Policing Plan team is Keira Woodroffe. An officer recently moved from Sussex is Olivia Pinkney who is now Chief Constable in Hampshire. In the Voluntary Sector some fantastic people such as Sally Polanski who has recently completed 10 years with Community Works, Geraldine Des Moulins CEO at Possability a vital charity to advocate on behalf of people whose voices are sometimes even more suppressed than those of women, Doris Ndebele former Chief Officer at Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership, Gail Gray at Rise who is also about to move on and Penny Shimmin Chief executive at Newhaven Community Development Association, Liz Lee recently retired from the Hollingdean Development Trust. In the world of local authorities people such as Penny Thompson previous CE at Brighton & Hove Council, Sam Beal who works at the Council but has also played a vital role with a charity known as SPARK in East Sussex, Gill Cameron Waller at Wealden and Becky Shaw CEO at East Sussex, Nicky Cambridge who has just left Brighton & Hove for East Sussex. Then in business people like Carly Donovan of Owl Audio Visual and Lisa McIlhone who used to work for Display Note. Frankly once you start trying to list out the many people who you have worked with it becomes impossible to do so without missing out many many more. All of these people are people who have changed lives and in a society where women and men were treated in a way that enabled talent and ability to be counted irrespective of gender they could probably have achieved even more than they have. Put even just a few of those folk together in a room and the potential to change situations would be enormous.
I hope all of them and the many I have not mentioned have a great day today and a great year.