International Women’s Day 2024: Interview with Jane

Today, Friday, 8 March 2024, is International Women’s Day (IWD), a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

IWD has been marked for over a century, with the first gathering in its name in 1911 supported by more than a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. It is not country, group or organisation-specific.

To celebrate IWD 2024, we’ve interviewed two of our amazing women: Astrid (she/her), an LGBTQ+ Specialist IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advocate), and Jane (she/her), our Inclusion and Engagement Project Manager.

We published Astrid’s interview earlier today. To complete our celebrations, we’d now like to share our interview with Jane, which you can enjoy here:

Please could you tell me a little about yourself?
I’m a 61-year-old lesbian who is a retired nurse living in Brighton and Hove.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you – and why is it so important?
It’s a day to reflect on what we have achieved towards equality, but it’s also an opportunity to draw attention to the inequalities faced by women including lesbians, bi women and trans (LBT+) people.

The campaign theme for this year’s IWD is Inspire Inclusion. What does this mean to you?
It is about breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and creating environments where all women are valued and respected. There is still a great deal of work to be done, particularly for lesbian, bi and trans people globally.

How will you celebrate the day? Will you think about or do anything in particular?
I will be thinking about all the trans women out there who are experiencing significant challenges and dealing with increasing violence directed against them, and how I can be the best ally possible.

How would you encourage readers to celebrate or mark this year’s IWD?
In any way which fills them with joy and to think about all the amazing women in their lives.

Which women are your heroes?
I know it’s corny, but I would probably start with my wife and our daughters, who inspire me every day. I met Moud Goba, who was a founder of Black Pride and is national manager of Micro Rainbow, at a LGBTQ+ housing conference we organised. She really inspired me as she has overcome challenges and has used her experience to make a difference to others. Locally in Brighton and Hove, Zoe Lyons is my hero because she makes me laugh!

How does Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard celebrate and support women?
According to Switchboard’s Strategy (2023), our vision is ‘an inclusive and diverse society where all LGBTQ+ people can realise their full potential’. This must include all women in the rainbow family. As I’ve outlined above, I think our society still has a long way to go before all women are included and can realise their full potential, particularly trans women. While this remains the case, Switchboard will continue fighting hard for full equality. It is doing this by – and excuse the cliché – being the change we want to see. This means embodying our values (tenacious, responsive and person-centred) as we pursue our mission (understand and respond to the needs of LGBTQ+ communities across Sussex by listening, connecting and supporting) to help realise our vision. I’ve no doubt Switchboard will remain at the vanguard of the struggle to deliver social justice for all women, whoever they are and wherever they come from.