What does it mean to be a woman in East London today?

3rd Century celebratory Indian sculpture. Pic: Jurveston on Flickr

3rd Century celebratory Indian sculpture. Pic: Jurveston on Flickr

Around the world today over 100 countries will celebrate International Women’s Day,  an event that honors women of the past and the change they fought for, whilst continuing to campaign to improve the future for women.

International Women’s Day will be celebrated in places like the United Kingdom, where women enjoy most of the rights and choices that men have, but also in countries such as Pakistan and Egypt where the battle is still far from won.

Marked on March 8 each year, the tradition seeks to celebrate respect, appreciation and love towards women, as well as women’s economic, political and social achievements.

Reporters Emma Rumney and Yasmin Carr-Bond went to Brick Lane to find out what being a woman means in Tower Hamlets.


Being a woman is spreading sensibility

Pic: Emma Rumney

Maria Alliaud, 31, Fashion Designer from Argentina, in London on business.

Being a woman is spreading sensibility


Pic: Emma Rumney

Alison Young, 50, Professor of Criminology, is Scottish and lives in Melbourne.

Being a woman is continuing the struggle and smiling at the same time…

Being a woman is: Wonderful and yet not so wonderful and yet...

Pic: Emma Rumney

Cathy Flower, said she was 9762 years old, is a performance poet who lives on Brick Lane.

Being a woman is wonderful and yet not so wonderful and yet…

Being a woman is: Being the "other" gender. Pic: Emma Rumney.

Pic: Emma Rumney.

Sointu Kuusikko, 21, a student from Hackney

Being a woman is being the “other” gender

Being a HUMAN is: to love and be loved

Pic: Emma Rumney

Layla Van Der Oord, 22, is from Holland and is studying on the Erasmus exchange programme in London

Being a woman human is to love & be loved

Being a woman is: The empowerment of serenity. Pic: Emma Rumney

Pic: Emma Rumney

 Rosie Hudston, 25, lives on Brick Lane, and is a fashion shoot assistant.

Being a woman is the empowerment of sexuality

Being a woman is: Beautiful, having responsibilities and being supportive. Pic: Emma Rumney

Pic: Emma Rumney

Anastasia Bonkanka, 34, lives in Mile End and is a waitress

Being a woman is beautiful, having responsibilities and being supportive

Being a woman is: All about using our choices wisely. Pic: Emma Rumney

Pic: Emma Rumney

Camilla Reid, 43, lives in Islington and is a children’s book editor

Being a woman is all about using our choices wisely


Katherine Cantwell and Anna Prokova contacted some other women in the EastLondonLines boroughs to ask them the same question: What does being a woman mean to you?

Stacie Maile, 29, translated her passion for sweet foods into a career that has seen her become a pillar of the Brockley community. She owns Pat-a-Cakes in Crofton Park, taking delight in supporting local artists and sponsoring charities. Maile looks forward to opening up the garden to invite more people with a sweet tooth to taste her divine recipes in the summer months.

She said: “In my mind being a woman means being independent, having your own mind, being strong willed, having passion for what you do, being patient and listening to what other people have to say or suggest, it only makes you a better person. Also women are well known for being great multi taskers and I do think that’s one key to running your own business.”

Jill Jones owns The Allotment, a New Cross-based purveyor of fresh vegetables and organic food.

She said: ‘’I don’t really see the point of the international women’s day. I don’t see myself in terms of gender. People are different- I think you should approach them as they are.’’

Bieneosa Ebite is the managing director of Bright Start Public Relations and presenter at Croydon Radio. As a working woman, she believes that International Women’s Day is something to be celebrated. To mark the occasion, she is broadcasting a special two hour show on Sunday 10th of March. The show will aim to discuss the role of women in society and the work place, and the challenges they face. She will also encourage Croydon residents to share their points of view on womanhood.

She said: “Women play valuable and diverse roles in society, so being a woman means being whatever you want to be. On a personal note, being a woman means being the best that I can be, both in my working life as a business owner and also by playing a part, no matter how small, in giving back to society and helping others. I think the latter is so important, as we all need the support, at numerous stages in our professional and personal lives, of others.”


By Emma Rumney, Yasmin Carr-Bond, Katherine Cantwell and Anna Prokova.

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