BY Clare Coghill

As the first female leader of Waltham Forest Council, I have made it my mission to champion the generations of women who have struggled for equality.

I was thrilled to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage by having the Town Hall lit purple in solidarity with those brave women who fought for the right to vote.

They are an inspiration to us all and I will endeavour to continue their legacy and do everything I can to push for true equality and better life chances for women and girls in our borough.

Too many continue to live in fear of domestic violence and in Waltham Forest alone, there were 2,500 recorded incidents last year. Research shows that women are much more likely to experience domestic abuse and that they often tell several people in the community before reporting it to the police or any other authority.

These could be friends, neighbours, family or others such as hairdressers, personal trainers, faith leaders or anyone else they regular come into contact with.

This gives the community the opportunity to give the right advice and guidance so women experiencing domestic abuse are supported and don’t suffer in silence.

Getting this first interaction right could mean the difference between life and death, it’s that important.

To coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8, we will launch the ‘Ask Me’ campaign in Waltham Forest.

This initiative will be about making people in the community ambassadors, ensuring if women do speak to them about domestic abuse they are offered the right support and signposted to support services.

Working with Women’s Aid and local women’s organisations we will support residents to make sure that survivors of domestic violence get the right response, first time and mobilise our community to end violence against women and girls.

To volunteer to be an ‘Ask Me’ Ambassador or to nominate someone, email Habiba Molvi at: or call 0770 850 9674/ 0207 566 2518.