IWD2018 I Meet LEAD magazine’s Unsung Heroines

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress. It’s about motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

We felt that this was the perfect opportunity to showcase some of those brilliant, talented, supportive women who are working tirelessly to do good, secure results and make the world a better place.

So we launched our Unsung Heroines campaign – our search for women to include in a special feature to mark International Women’s Day.

And here it is.

This feature is about celebrating those women who go above and beyond to help others without being asked, or who juggle demanding jobs with an equally busy family life.

It’s about shining a spotlight on those women who aren’t prepared to put up with the status quo and are so are taking powerful action towards change but aren’t necessarily getting any credit for it – yet.

When we received 77 excellent entries from 48 companies working in 23 different sectors, we were delighted – even if it did mean we had our work cut out selecting who to run with.

Initially we had planned to feature just five women, but based on the calibre of the nominations we’ve upped it to 10.

But we don’t want to ignore the great work of all the other fabulous women who were entered by their colleagues and so will be finding ways to tell their stories throughout the year – watch this space for details.

Gender equality means a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population. It means more money in everyone’s pockets. It means better decision-making, better leadership and a better society for everyone.

Throughout the day today, we are going to be introduce you to some brilliant women. Keep your eye on Twitter (@LeadMagazineUK) for details of when a new story has gone live.

You’ll be hearing from Bernadette Thompson – aka supermom – from the Home Office who was nominated for being “full of energy, extremely positive, resilient and an inspiration…

Vicki Carter, chair of Out for Sport, about her work encouraging more LGBT+ people into sport…

Inecke Snyder-Lourens, director of professional services at Cognifide who is one of only a handful of women working in technical delivery…

Zandra Moore, IT business owner, founder of a regional women’s networking group, girls football coach and busy mum…

…Headteacher, Jo Warnock who is inspiring her staff, children and parents through education…

…World champion powerlifter and advocate for gender equality, Manon Bradley from the Major Projects Association…

…Scientist turned fundraiser, Clare Walton who is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for much needed research by the Alzheimer’s Society…

Bon Collins who refused to accept she would never walk again after an accident caused her body to shut down – and now competes in sporting challenges…

Anita Brightley-Hodges who works tirelessly to support family business leaders so they are successful, productive and sustainable…

…and branding expert Amelia Torode who is introducing models of flexible working into the advertising industry so that parents, carers and anyone who wants to work differently can…

We’ve all met women like this. We’ve worked with them and for them, and have benefited from their hard work and effort. They’re our former and current bosses, colleagues, the women we meet in the work’s kitchen or pass in the corridor. There are thousands of unsung heroines just like these working in every business, office and home.

So on International Women’s Day, take a moment to stop and thank them. Think about what you can do to help them, and others like them. And then #pressforprogress by taking action so that more women like our superstars featured here can achieve their potential – and in doing so help you achieve yours.

Because this is not a zero sum game.

Gender equality means a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population. It means more money in everyone’s pockets. It means better decision-making, better leadership and a better society for everyone.

With thanks to all of our Unsung Heroines and the people who nominated them.

Becky, Sheenagh, Rachel and the team at LEAD: Leadership for Equality and Diversity 

P.S. You can find loads of ways to take action on this website and within the pages of LEAD. Send in your stories of how you are working to achieve gender equality and we’ll include as many as we can.