The UKA held a course this year led by female instructors. It was top notch. Interestingly Pat Narey, the senior female instructor present, said that she wasn't too keen on female only courses (this course was mixed with many UKA male instructors turning up to take ukemi).
Some of the high ranking female instructors in the UK that I'm aware of are are:
Pat Narey, Cath Davies, Barbara Sotowicz, Lousie Hunt -UKA
Dee Chen, Pauline Squire - BA
Maria Helsby, Linda Gannon - BAF/ or associated.
Ah loi Lee - BAA
Some might say that to classify them as "female instructors" isslightly insulting (and this applies to other divisions). As the Aikido they practice is a reflection of their varying teachers and personalities, rather than their gender. While body type is clearly influenced by sex, in think this is over stated. At the end of the day we're all Aikido students, and I don't notice if the person throwing me around has an inny or and outey
Q.1 Would we put together a video on national/ ethnic grounds? Top European instructors? Top Afro Caribbean instructors? Is this is a good idea or not? Should we celebrate our differences to help overcome prejudices that DO EXIST; or do we say, Aikido is about bringing people together and all that stuff is irrelevant? I honestly don't know.
Q.2 Is there a female 8th dan in the world? I can think of one Afro Caribbean (Amos Parker) and European (Andre Nocquet, now decreased) example.