This coming Sunday, 8 March, has been widely celebrated as International Women’s Day for almost 100 years. The GLA events calendar, however, is noticeably devoid of any events to mark this celebration. The annual Capital Woman conference, a very successful event which had been put on by Ken Livingstone since 2001, was quietly cancelled.

Yesterday, the following news release was circulated from the Mayor’s Press Office:

“Mayor announces first People’s Question Time for women in London

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced the first ever People’s Question Time for women in London.
Speaking tonight ahead of International Women’s Day at his third People’s Question Time in Tower Hamlets, he also praised the incredible contribution of women to the ongoing success of the capital and vowed to improve life for women in London by ensuring their needs are factored into every policy and decision of his administration.

Boris Johnson said:
“With International Women’s Day fast approaching I’m delighted to seize this opportunity to thank the women of London for their incredible contribution to the success of this great city and to announce a special ‘Women in London’ People’s Question Time on July 22nd in Croydon.
“Over the last year I’ve been hugely fortunate to have some highly talented women come on board and work for me – Rosie Boycott as Chair of London Foods, Isabel Dedring, as Director of Environmental Policy and Munira Mirza as Director of Culture.  These remarkable women, and the thousands like them across London, are setting a fantastic example and their work is crucial to taking us through this recession and raising the quality of life for everyone in the capital.
“I have no doubt there are challenges ahead for women, as there will be for all of us. However as Mayor of London I am determined to do whatever I can to make life better for women in the capital and I am committed to factoring their needs into every single policy and decision of my administration from the economy to safety to transport. “
The Mayor also launched the annual Women in London Report, which takes a statistically look at the position of women in the capital, at the event. The report shows that more women than ever before are joining the Met Police – 40 per cent of all new recruits in 2007/2008 were female compared to 27 per cent the year before – and women in the capital continue to be healthier and better educated than their male counterparts. It also reveals that while the gender pay gap persists in the city there are more women at senior positions in London than elsewhere in the UK.

Notes to Editors:
1.      This is the third People’s Question Time meeting since the new Mayor and Assembly were elected in May 2008.
2.      For a full copy of the Women in London report go to
3.      During the election campaign, the Mayor promised to listen to Londoners on matters of concern to them.  He also pledged to increase accountability by tripling the number of opportunities that people have to hold his administration to account by holding six meetings a year.
4.      People’s Question Time is a FREE public event.

Let’s see how Boris has rewarded the “incredible contribution” of “remarkable women” to “the ongoing success of the capital”, a city in which “there are more women in senior positions…than elsewhere in the UK” :

The five most senior female GLA staff were sacked by Johnson soon after his election.

Every one of Johnson’s appointments to senior positions in the GLA group and all the Deputy Mayors are male.

Of the two female Directors appointed to the Mayoral Team, Director of Environmental Policy, Isabel Dedring,  has not had her salary disclosed and the other female appointee, Cultural Director Munira Mirza, earns £20 000 less than her male colleagues.

Edited to add: The Mayor’s Women In London report is now online – but who on earth is “Camilla Batmanjella”? Could Boris mean, perhaps, Camila Batmanghelidjh? I don’t know, these ethnics and their funny names, eh, Boris?

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