Islington for Women: ‘Why BBC was wrong about Islington being the worst place for us to live’

PUBLISHED: 09:22 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:09 23 March 2018

Anita Grant is co-founder of the Islington for Women group. Picture: Polly Hancock

Anita Grant is co-founder of the Islington for Women group. Picture: Polly Hancock


Anita Grant was ‘horrified’ when BBC research claimed Islington was the worst place for women in the UK. She tells the Gazette what she and her new group, Islington for Women, is doing about it.

In September last year, a BBC Woman’s Hour study found Islington was the worst borough in the UK for women to live.

The reasoning was fair enough – high crime, poor environment, lack of affordable housing – but in reality these surveys are often a pile of garbage, aren’t they?

Anita Grant, founder member of the new Islington for Women group, agrees.

“I was really horrfied,” she says. “I couldn’t believe they would say that.”

Over the next 12 months, Islington for Women will be carrying out its own study in response. It will be speaking to different groups of women across the borough for their thoughts on life here, and asking how it can be made better.

These ideas will be presented to Islington Council in time for the next International Women’s Day in a year’s time.

Anita has lived or worked in Islington her entire life. She was born at the Royal Free in Liverpool Road, attended Hungerford Primary in Holloway and went to London Met Uni in Holloway Road.

Anita Grant is co-founder of the Islington for Women group. Picture: Polly HancockAnita Grant is co-founder of the Islington for Women group. Picture: Polly Hancock

She’s been the chief executive of Islington Play Association, a charity that works to ensure children are given the space and freedom to play, for 12 years.

Anita is one of a group of 10, including councillors and voluntary sector workers, who will be speaking to women at places ranging from children’s playgrounds to libraries.

She explains why she thinks the BBC verdict is untrue: “I felt the data sets they used weren’t fair. To be fair, they needed data comparable with other parts of the country.

“I think women here are helped by Islington’s diversity, and the approach to children. These things make a difference to women, but it wasn’t data they could use in the report.

“But I was still amazed. Islington is a place where you can be who you want to be. It’s a place where women can get to the top, and you see lots of organisations here with women at the top of the hierachys.

“So I got this group of women together. We met and said how much we didn’t believe this report. We either need to prove it wrong, or if it is the worst place, work out what needs to be done to change this.”

For more information about the campaign, see Islington for Women’s Twitter account: @Islington4Women

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