IWD 2023 at Pecan

Celebrating Women at Pecan

Pecan | Southwark Foodbank | Peckham Pantry | Women’s Service | Together 

To mark and celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, we asked staff at Pecan to name a woman they admired. Here are some of the women’s responses from each of our projects:

Auntie Janet

Name: Alyssa
Women’s Service
Role: Project Administrator 

A woman you admire and why:  

My Auntie Janet. She, like me, came from a working-class background and a fairly dysfunctional family. Despite this, she got a good education and made a real stab at life; establishing a great career, having healthy relationships, having a family, all while being a lovely person who is also really stylish! To me, she is the epitome of put-together, cool-headed, organised, and loving. She always seems to know what to do and has given me many words of wisdom which have helped me out loads. Sometimes she does have times when she is fed up,  but she has shown me how to handle the natural crests and troughs of life with grace and strong will.  She is definitely someone I admire and aspire to be like. Big up Auntie Jan.

(c) Sara Rowbotham

Name: Kathleen
Women’s Service 
Mental Health Advocate 

A woman you admire and why:  

Sara Rowbotham– a local councillor, community leader and former health worker in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

Whilst working for the Rochdale Crisis Intervention Team for the NHS, Rowbotham uncovered the Rochdale child sex abuse ring and helped bring the perpetrators to court. As a front line sexual health worker, who led the NHS crisis team, she made 181 referrals detailing the abuse and sexual grooming of young people between 2005 and 2011.

Maya Angelou (photo and copyright by Deborah Feingold)

Name: Cat
Women’s Service 
Women’s Service Manager 

A woman you admire and why:  

Maya Angelou, for her brilliance and intelligence but also her power. She showed incredible strength and courage in the face of countless obstacles, and even in a world that consistently tried to diminish her worth she valued and treasured herself and her brilliance. 

Name: Manija 
Project: Women’s Service 
Role: Women’s Advocate 

A woman you admire and why:

Khadija bint Khuwaylid– the first female Muslim feminist who defied all of societies standards through her profession (a successful businesswoman who built her own empire), love life (as a former divorcee she approached the man she loved 15 years younger than her), generosity & kindness (she donated all her wealth towards charity and to protect her husband from harm). Khadija was incredibly intelligent and a non-conformist for a woman of her time. Khadija bint Khuwaylid defied all of societies standards at a time where woman in other parts of the world were still deemed as ‘property of a man’, she is a constant reminder to me that I too am able to hold strong to my values and what matters to me most regardless of societal pressures. 

(c) Leah Williamson

Name: Danii
Project: Women’s Service
Role: Deputy Manager

A woman you admire and why: 

Leah Williamson is a footballer who captained the England Women’s team to victory at the 2022 Euros, becoming the first captain in the men or women’s senior teams to win a European trophy in 56 years. Along with her teammates, Leah has championed for equality in football and advocates for girls to have the same access to sports as boys. I admire Leah as she has fought for her place in a sport that has historically ostracised women and she has gone on to be hugely successful. Watching Leah and her team win the Euros was my highlight of 2022 and I think she is an incredible example for all girls who have been told they can’t play football because it’s a “boy’s game”.

(c) Jenny Lau

Name: Trin 
Project: Southwark Food Action Alliance 
Role: SFAA Coordinator 

A woman you admire and why:

Jenny Lau (@celestialpeach_uk on Insta) is a Chinese community food organiser and writer in London – I love seeing her posts about Chinese food and culture. As a Chinese-Aussie in London (with a love of food), it’s a wonderful way to learn more about Chinese food and people in this city and I think it’s amazing how she’s created a community around food! 

Genevieve Stafford Jack

Name: Pearl 
Project: Peckham Pantry 
Role: Peckham Pantry Volunteer since 2023

A woman you admire and why:

The woman I admire most is a young entrepreneur by the name of Genevieve Stafford Jack. She started her journey on the shop floor and has taken herself from there to being a life coach where she concentrates on coaching through property.
I admire her for her kindness to others, her attention to detail and her aptness to teach others whilst empowering them.
She does this with excellence whilst being a mother, a wife, a sister and a friend to countless people that she has had the opportunity to meet. Whilst I have a long list of woman I admire, I chose Genevieve as she is both my blood sister and my best friend. Should I have the opportunity to chose my siblings, I would chose her again and again.
(c) Tilda Swinton

Name: Rachael 
Project: Peckham Pantry
Role: Assistant Pantry Manager 

A woman you admire and why:

Tilda Swinton for being herself.


Name: Flora 
Project: Southwark Foodbank 
Role: Community Engagement Officer 

A woman you admire and why: 

A woman I admire is my former lecturer and course convener at university, Ruba Salih. The way she brought personal and political elements into her teaching and work really impressed me. She inspired me to continue looking at activism and advocacy as ways to create knowledge and to shift power. 


Name: Moshoodat
Project: Central Team
Role: Finance Assistant

A woman you admire and why:

My Mother. I admire her because she is my role model. She loves unconditionally and she is kind, caring, compassionate, prayerful, dedicated, hardworking, resilient and always there for the family.

Name: Paula & Beatrice 
Project: Central Team 
Role: Office Administrator / HR & Volunteer Administrator 

A woman you admire and why:

Chloe (Central Team Phone & Admin Assistant Volunteer). Chloe has been such an amazing attribute to our team since joining us in November 2022. Pecan took on the task of aiding Southwark Council with making referrals and applications to the residence in the borough for the Cost of Living Crisis scheme. We could not anticipate how much it would take off with us seeing up to 200 people a day on occasions, and if it was not for the support of Chloe, we would not have been able to reach as many people in the community and efficiently input the referrals and applications on the database at the rate that we did. Her contributions certainly do not go unnoticed, and we are very appreciative and grateful for her.  

(c) Sonia Boyce

Name: Tracey
Project: Central Team
Role: Marketing Manager 

A woman you admire and why:

Sonia Boyce OBE RA is my choice. Sonia is a multi-media Artist and Educator. Her painting ‘Big Womens Talk (1984) was the inspiration for me going to art college. She explores her Caribbean and British identity and is notable for bringing the experience of a black woman to the forefront of British art from the 1980’s onwards. In 1989 at the Hayward Gallery, she was part of the ‘The Other Story’ exhibition which was the first retrospective exhibition of British African, Caribbean and Asian modernism.  

(c) Mia Mottley

Name: Nina
Project: Central Team
Role: Marketing Assistant Volunteer 

A woman you admire and why: 

Mia Mottley is the first female Prime Minister of Barbados and leader of the Barbadian Labour Party. I really admire the changes she has made in Barbados during her term as Prime Minister, including the abolishment of the Monarchy to ‘fully leave the colonial past of Barbados behind’. 

I also respect Mottley for being outspoken about the role that industrialised nations have played and continue to play in the climate crisis, as well as about the intensified impact the crisis is now having on countries in the Global South.

Doris Taylor

Name: Deborah
Project: Central Team
Role: Head of Services

A woman you admire and why:  

My Grandma, Doris Taylor. She gained a qualification in Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast at a time when very few women were even allowed into the class. Despite facing many obstacles, on 9th July 1941 she became registered with the Medical Registration in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During 1941/2 she was a House Surgeon and Physician at Belfast City Hospital before becoming a Lieutenant then Captain in The Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). She met my Grandpa who was also an army Doctor, and after the war they married and moved to Chingford. My Grandma was unable to fulfil her dream of becoming a GP after the war as the world of medicine was such a ‘boys club’ at that time. However, she became a leading light in the field of Family Planning. She ran her own practice supporting women with procedures that were ahead of their time, providing hope and kindness to hundreds of women and families. She was also a keen golfer and although not allowed on the golf course with the men, beat every score my Grandpa made! She is one of my big inspirations for working with women and proving that even when everything was against her a women can do anything she puts her mind to! She may not have been able to become a GP but she certainly made her mark in medicine. 


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