Met's first female commissioner, Cressida Dick, speaks at Inspiring Women event

Published: Thursday 24th January 2019

On 15 January, Coram had the honour of welcoming the first female commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service Cressida Dick CBE QPM and Jenny Coles, President Elect of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services for our ‘Inspiring Women’ discussion.

The free event was held at The Foundling Museum and discussed issues faced today by women and girls and what we need to be doing as a society to create social change.

Cressida Dick commented on how the Metropolitan Police Force has women thriving at every level and in every role, however acknowledged “We've come a long way but we aren't there yet. I'd like to see a 50/50 workforce for men and women in the police, that's where we should be. We need to look at what we can do to make more women feel that they can combine all aspects of their life with the policing life effectively.”

The commissioner also commented on the scrutiny women in leadership roles can often face and the rise of online abuse over the past few years, as well as discussing the importance of role models and mentoring for women as they progress through their careers.

Jenny Coles noted “there is something about building our strengths but not backing away from the difficulties – I think that is something in terms of inspiring women and girls to go into leadership roles that’s really, really important”.

Building on the same sentiment, for her closing remarks Cressida Dick stated “We all have a responsibility to help women be resilient, because there is a fantastic, wonderful privilege in being a leader and it isn’t as hard as lots of people think it might be. We have to help younger, newer people come into the senior leadership thinking this is ok, I can do it, I will be supported and that they can be part of a healthy working culture.”

The discussion was part of a series of events that take inspiration from the 21 Ladies of ‘Quality and Distinction’ who aided Thomas Coram during his 17 year campaign to establish the Foundling Hospital, ultimately gaining him the approval of King George II in 1739. Now known as Coram, the children’s charity continues to help those who are marginalised or at risk in order to give all children and young people the best possible chance in life.

Read more about the pivotal role the 21 Ladies of ‘Quality and Distinction’ played in the establishing of the Foundling Hospital here.