Female swimmers need to feel safe

British Swimming’s Summer Championships made it into the mainstream media in July. Not because of the performances of any swimmers despite the fact that Imogen Clark’s 50m breaststroke time would have made finals in world aquatics in Japan. Instead, the pinnacle of a competitive development pathway was reported in mainstream media because of a now-common controversy. The achievements of swimmers – each of them having placed in the top 24 in their age group for each event – were ignored because a male official calling himself Anne Coombes had complained about being given the gender neutral changing room key at a Sheffield hotel despite presenting in women’s clothing. Continue reading “Female swimmers need to feel safe”

Delilah: No forgiveness, no excuses

Jade Mills had been moving on with her life after she split up with Russell March. In August 2021, after an evening spent with her family and friends, she went to bed, apparently cheerful and optimistic for her future. March, eaten up by resentment, could not tolerate Jade’s ability to live without him. So, he killed her.

Summing up the case, at Mold County Court, the judge told March, ‘You sneaked upstairs where the victim was, not before going and telling your son that their mum had kissed another man. You had armed yourself with a knife from the kitchen before going upstairs. You wanted to make [her] suffer.’ Continue reading “Delilah: No forgiveness, no excuses”

Safeguarding issues in therapeutic work with children under 18 years identifying as trans

Presented at Merched Cymru’s webinar, 17th June 2023


Thanks very much for inviting me to contribute to this important discussion. I suppose I am coming at this topic from a number of different directions, as a former social worker with an interest in childcare law and children’s rights, and as a counsellor, with a past connection with the school counselling provision in Wales, and a particular interest in confidentiality and the Gillick principle, as well as being a member of Thoughtful Therapists (Daniels and Jenkins, 2010). Continue reading “Safeguarding issues in therapeutic work with children under 18 years identifying as trans”

Every girl needs a best friend

Adolescence is a tricky period in a girl’s life. From rapid changes in your body to the prospect of adult relationships it’s a time of huge upheaval – all too often coming alongside exams and other academic pressures. Fortunately, girls are often surrounded by allies to help them through this passage of their lives: their friends. The friendships you form in your teens stay with you your whole life – it’s a deep bond, burned in deeper than your first kiss.

We turn to our friends when we need help in this period of our lives. Parents can be too busy, or too old, too tied up in their own problems. Teachers don’t always seem to have the time. And some things are just too embarrassing to talk about with an adult. They wouldn’t get it. But your friends do: they’re navigating the same sea, after all. Continue reading “Every girl needs a best friend”

Women’s rights: cross party concern and Conservative electioneering

On Monday 11 July Merched Cymru and LGB Alliance Cymru were honoured to attend a cross-party event in the House of Lords, celebrating the vital importance of free speech. We were delighted to talk to MPs, including our own Tonia Antoniazzi (Gower) and Alex Davies-Jones (Pontypridd), Rosie Duffield, and Joanna Cherry, and meet in person many of the women we admire.

We couldn’t help contrasting the welcome and open discussion we enjoyed to the stonewalling we experience from the Senedd. Take note, please, Mark Drakeford, Hannah Blythyn, Jeremy Miles and other Senedd Members. The rest of the country is waking up to the importance of open debate and Wales risks being left behind in a quagmire of its own making. Continue reading “Women’s rights: cross party concern and Conservative electioneering”