The highest ranking operational female firefighter in the UK has been included in a poll to find the most influential woman in London over the last 100 years. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dany Cotton is among the 40 women on the list that includes Princess Diana, Margaret Thatcher and Dame Judy Dench.  

The Greater London Authority, Metro and the Press Association, are staging an exhibition at London's City Hall to celebrate the centenary of International Women's Day. 

Dany said: "When I joined the London Fire Brigade there were very few women in the service. Some people were quite wary and suspicious of having a woman around a fire station, which was a real challenge for me. The brigade is a different place now and we have over 280 women firefighters in London. I am immensely proud to have made this list and I hope it encourages more women to join the Fire Service." 

Deputy Commissioner Rita Dexter, said: "It is fantastic that Dany has been recognised in this way. For her to be on the list alongside senior women from the world of politics, sport and business shows how far the brigade has come with regards to equalities. Women have a vitally important role to play within the UK Fire and Rescue Service and it is great that Dany has been an inspiration to other so many women." 

Running from March 4-17, it will feature 40 photos of the women who have shaped the lives of generations in the past 100 years. They include figures from a number of diverse fields, such as politics, business, sport, the arts and science. The exhibition, entitled 'Celebrating Women of London', focuses on those who have lived or worked in the capital in the past century and have made groundbreaking contributions in their fields. 

People can vote for Dany at  


Posted: 01.03.11