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International Women’s Day: Redbridge Police commander Sue Williams on changing attitudes

Det Ch Supt Sue Williams Det Ch Supt Sue Williams

Saturday, March 8, 2014
8:00 AM

To mark International Women’s Day, we talked to some of the most influential women in Redbridge and asked what challenges they have overcome and what women still have to face.

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International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is observed around the world on March 8 every year with thousands of events to inspire and help women.

Although the celebration started in America during the early 1900s while women campaigned for the right to vote, as well as better working rights, it spread quickly and has become a national holiday in some countries.

In some places, men honour their mothers and loved ones with gifts and women are given the day off work.

In the UK, the focus tends to be celebrating women’s achievements and campaigning for equality.

Equal pay, the “glass ceiling”, domestic violence, sexual health and discrimination are topics for conferences, activities and events.

It is also an opportunity to raise money for charities supporting women’s issues.

Organisers say they want to “make every day International Women’s Day”.

Visit internationalwomensday.com for more information.

As the Metropolitan Police’s borough commander for Redbridge, Sue Williams is one of the most senior women in the force.

She has served all over London in her 30 years as a police officer and has been in charge of the Met’s domestic violence work and on its women and policing taskforce.

Det Ch Supt Williams took the work around the world, even advising police in Russia on handling abuse cases.

She believes equality in the Met is improving but there is still a lot of work left to do.

She added: “When I joined there were some huge challenges facing women trying to get into senior positions.

“There have been times where I felt discriminated against and felt maybe if I was a man I would have got that job.”

Sue has set up a women in policing group in Redbridge and has started projects mentoring junior female officers to help them rise through the ranks.

After leaving school with O-Levels and only completing a degree later in life, she puts her own success down to sheer hard work and determination.

Sue hopes that her projects will help a new generation of women into senior ranks.

She said: “I see it as my legacy to the Met and a chance to support them. I don’t want to get to this position and shut the door behind me.”

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