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Upholding the legacy of leading women in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on International Women’s Day

08 March 2024

As we approach International Women’s Day, it’s imperative to reflect on the strides made by remarkable women in our communities, and the journey ahead towards achieving true gender equality.

This year, as Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, I am proud to celebrate the contributions of leading women in our region while acknowledging the work that still lies ahead.

International Women’s Day is not just a day of celebration; it’s a call to action. It’s a reminder of the ongoing fight for gender equality, not only in terms of representation but also in creating environments where women can thrive without fear or prejudice. In Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, we are fortunate to have a rich tapestry of inspiring women who have shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for generations to come.

From trailblazing politicians to dedicated community leaders, the influence of women in our region is profound. Women like Carolyn Williamson CEO of Hampshire County Council, one of the largest public sector organisations in the country, and DCC Sam De Reya, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary’s most senior police woman. Not to mention Penny Mordaunt MP, who was the first female Secretary of State for Defence and who played a leading role in the King’s coronation. Their commitment to public service has left an indelible mark on our community. These are just a few examples of the women who have risen to prominence and made significant contributions to our society.

However, despite the progress we have made, challenges persist. Women continue to face barriers in various spheres, including the workplace, politics, and the criminal justice system. As Police and Crime Commissioner, I am acutely aware of the unique challenges women encounter, whether it’s experiencing domestic violence, harassment, or discrimination, at work, at home and at school.

Addressing these issues requires collaboration between law enforcement, community organisations, and policymakers. It means prioritising the safety and well-being of women, ensuring that their voices are heard and their rights protected. It means challenging outdated attitudes and norms that perpetuate gender inequality.

One area where we have made significant strides is in tackling violence against women. Through initiatives such as the Hampshire Domestic Abuse Partnership, we have worked tirelessly to provide support and resources to survivors while holding perpetrators accountable for their actions. But our work is far from over. We must continue to invest in prevention and early intervention strategies to break the cycle of abuse and create safer communities for all.

Moreover, we must also address the systemic barriers that prevent women from fully participating in public life. Whether it’s through mentoring programmes, leadership training, or targeted recruitment efforts, we must create opportunities for women to step into leadership roles and have their voices heard.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2024, let us honour the legacy of leading women in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight by striving to build a more inclusive and equitable society for future generations. Together, we can create a world where every woman and girl has the opportunity to fulfil her potential and live free from discrimination and violence.

PCC Donna Jones

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Police and Crime Commissioner