International Women’s Day takes place today - a global celebration of the social, economic, political, and cultural achievements of women.
This year’s theme is ‘break the bias’, promoting the importance of gender equality to help create a world that is diverse, inclusive, and free of bias.
To mark this event, Cheshire East Council has held a recorded Q&A panel session with influential females in the borough, hosted by Chief Officer of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, Jackie Weaver.
Panel members from the Council include Dr Lorraine O’Donnell, chief executive of Cheshire East Council, who recounts her story of joining the council during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Kay Mcintyre MBE, Cheshire East Council’s area manager for the borough’s Youth Support Service, and Jasmine Ward, a member of Youth Parliament for Cheshire East who has helped to lead a mental health conference for young people and run a campaign against sexual harassment.
Partners on the panel were Katy O’Reegan, a former BBC radio presenter and youth worker who is now an entrepreneur running a community magazine delivered free to 32,000 homes, Guyanese Cheshire East Councillor and former Midwife Alift Harewood, Saskia Lightburn-Richie - chief executive of My CWA who works with families who are affected by domestic abuse, and Sally Probert-Hill, chief executive of Body Positive, a sexual health and LGBT+ charity for Cheshire.
During the session panel members were asked a series of questions around their professional experiences and personal achievements, while sharing their views on key topics such as imposter syndrome, the importance of male allies, creating workplace cultures to attract and retain female leaders, and the importance of celebrating International Women’s Day.
“Today is not only a day to reflect on the progress that has been made in our fight for equality, but how far we have yet to go to tackle discrimination and stereotyping.
“At the council we have strong females represented in a variety of roles across all our services, all of whom are committed to achieving the best outcomes for the people of Cheshire East, and this is something I am immensely proud to be part of.”
Councillor Marilyn Houston, Cheshire East Council equality, diversity and inclusion member champion, said: “With another International Women’s Day upon us once again, I find myself in awe of the achievements of so many strong female leaders, not only within the council across different services, but across the borough and the world.
“This panel session is just a snapshot of some of the key female representatives we have in Cheshire East, and offers some amazing insights from strong females from different backgrounds, cultures and ages.
“We hope that by taking the time to celebrate this hugely important date in the calendar, more women will rejoice, come together and speak out to help break the bias and work with us as we look to creating a more gender-equal world.”
The Q&A session can be viewed via this link on the Cheshire East Council YouTube channel.
Residents are also encouraged to join in with the national International Women’s Day campaign by following the hashtag #InternationalWomensDay22 on Twitter, sharing their stories across social media, and taking a photograph of themselves posing in the ‘crossed arms’ campaign pose, showing solidarity for the rights of women.