Your favourite female Londoners
When I arrived in London, it was by train, heavily packed, at St Pancras International. I made my way to Victoria and there struggled to find the next connection. Going up a long staircase, a man offered to carry one of my bags. Stunned – and exhausted – I said yes. This rarely happens where I was hours before.
This was November. Over the past months, I have learned lots of Londoners are as friendly and polite as this man on my first journey. In those months, I have also settled in South London, discovered bits of how wonderful this city is and started a very exciting internship at Chocolate Films, working on 1000 Londoners.
1000 Londoners is making a big deal of women these days. The current season ‘Century: 10 Women x 10 Decades’ celebrates women and what it is like to be a woman in London. I am a woman. I do not consider myself to be a feminist. But with four very successful cinema screenings, many happy faces and lots of positive side effects, ‘Century’ has been a great experience. Also, it most definitely introduced me to some fantastic women in London.
Meeting interesting people and going to places one doesn’t normally see. That’s what I love most about working in media. Getting those stories out, is at least as rewarding. I will never forget Susie with her incredible perseverance, or Kathleen who at 96 really struck me with her quick-witted humour. I hope you enjoy their films as much as we enjoyed making them.
In the run-up to International Women’s Day, I went out to Battersea Park with just one question to ask strollers: Who’s your favourite female Londoner? I was surprised to hear most quite quickly came up with an answer. People clearly hadn’t ever thought about this, but ideas came swiftly.
The ‘winner’, I must say, is the Queen. Various wanderers immediately named her as their favourite female Londoner. I am mainland European, from a non-nationalistic monarchy where people have very little connection to the royalty. It’s charming to see the British love their Queen.
More to my expectation, people named family members, friends, their fiancee or “a strong type of woman”. We value women close to us. For me, they are at least as worthy to be celebrated as the leading ladies in public life.
It was very pleasant to see how people welcomed my woman-themed inquiry and how willing they were to answer on camera. Upon hearing the question, smiles turned up on my interviewees’ faces. It might have been the lovely afternoon or the stroll in the park, but it’s also the effect of thinking about women they like.
So, now I’m curious: Who is your favourite female Londoner?