What a beautiful day on Saturday 27th August, on London’s Hampstead Heath, made even more so by strong, brave, smart and fierce women who made their voices heard - loud and clear - at the Ladies Pond and through the park in London.
It was a sight that would have made Boudicca, who legend has it is resting nearby, proud.
The peaceful march started at 1pm at the Kenwood Ladies Pond, and was met with a tiny resistance by a small number of people - shouting strange things that were not very audible. As they did not want to engage, I really have no clue as to what they were shouting about...
The Kenwood Ladies Pond, in case you have never heard of it, was the only female-only pond in Europe, up until a couple of years ago when Edward Lord, an elected member of the City of London Court of Common Council, decided he had enough of all these pesky women having stuff to themselves. He turned into a de facto mixed-sex pond by allowing men to self id as women and gain access to it. Apparently, the actual mixed sex pond and the men’s pond were not enough for Edward.
The action was organised by Venice Allan, and was launched to reclaim the Kenwood Ladies Pond as a female only space by 2025, in time to celebrate the centenary of this iconic London swimming spot.
The turnout was amazing. Among the women present, there were Sheila Jeffreys, Maya Forstater, Kellie Jay Keen, Catherine Heseltine, Aja with her beautiful poem and, for WRN, there was Carina. Among the groups represented were: “Standing for women, “Sex Matters, “Women’s Right’s Network” (in full force, with members from Camden, Islington, West London and more!) and the newly formed group, “Let Our Sisters Swim”.
It was sunny and all the women had placards, post cards, or shirts for the occasion as they marched from the Ladies Pond via the men’s pond to the “Stone of free speech” where there were great speeches about women, fairness, swimming, sports and… Prosecco!
What a lovely and important day. The organisers did a terrific job and I would like to thank them with all my heart.