Where we started

14 January 2020

I started these Awards three years ago (2017), it was as a result of not seeing anything that brought women in the East Midlands together.  There was nothing that created a regional opportunity to recognise and celebrate women.  I guess I’m harking back to the Regional Development Agencies or RDAs (1998 – 2010) whose purpose it was to develop the regional economies.  I’m not saying they were perfect, but I saw many women benefit in the East Midlands.    From my experience the RDAs provided a place for women to come together, to learn from each other, but also for the wider sectors engage.  I met some amazing women during that era and made some long-lasting relationships, from which we formed partnerships and created strategic opportunities. I could see first-hand the contribution women around me were making. It was clear, at least here in the Midlands.

As a businesswoman and community worker, I felt that we were no longer, as a wider community, getting the opportunity to see and celebrate what hundreds of women were doing on a daily basis.  Reports that tell us that it would take anything between 70 and 217 years, depending on which one you read filled me with further frustration. I know that women are making a difference, but this all seemed to be being ignored.  Women were not, and are still not being fairly treated, in the workplace i.e. unequal pay, lack of promotional opportunities, etc.

In my work as a consultant, coach and mentor, one of the things I say to people in the workplace when they are unhappy about something is that they have a choice.  A choice to ignore it or do something about it, but just to complain is really not a healthy option for anyone.

What I saw then and unfortunately still see in many places today, is the lack of recognition for women.  So, I decided to take some of my own medicine and to do something about it. 

Over the past three years these Awards have quickly gained a high-profile reputation across the region.  Originally the East Midlands Women’s Awards (EMWA) we are now this year, 2020, expanding our opportunity to celebrate women, into the West Midlands as well.

I must admit, it is exciting to see so many women receive the recognition they deserve.  Each year as the nominations come in, we find out about more and more amazing women who are right here in our region. 

I want us to lay a foundation that show a different way for our children.  I’m living in the hope that seeing and hearing about the exceptional women who’ve been nominated and been chosen by our Judging Panel to win one of these awards, our boy and girls will see that equality is good for all of us.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our new website.  Do take a look around and find out more about what we’ve been up to over the past three years, our videos, events and photo gallery.

I look forward to catching up with you again soon. 

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