Strong Manchester women
Continuing with the Strong Manchester Women theme this year, our campaign for 2018 features a number of women, all of whom were nominated by members of the IWD Steering Group.
Uzma Ansari, Outreach Worker, The Pankhurst Trust (Incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid)
A former volunteer, Uzma is now employed full time offering support and help to women, whether or not they are staying in refuge accommodation. Uzma provides a range of support from one-off information sessions to signposting dedicated programmes that help women experiencing domestic violence. Her work includes highlighting available support groups, specialist clinics with services like solicitors, support and empowerment programmes, and activities and support services for children.
#StrongMcrWomen are determined and fearless
Jenny-Anne Bishop OBE, Chair, TransForum
As Chairperson for both TransForum and Unique Jenny-Anne has aimed to provide a supportive environment for Transgender people and those questioning their gender. TransForum is a discussion group that offers mutual peer support: all are welcome including partners, family and friends. Jenny-Anne retired from being a sales and marketing manager in scientific instruments for 35 years, and now engages in voluntary work for the Transgender and LGBT communities.
#StrongMcrWomen are resourceful and persistent
Jay Cahill, Fighting Fit Foundation and Education Consultant
From a background in special needs education, Jay has established a health and fitness focused social enterprise. Alongside providing a range of martial arts and strength or conditioning training, current projects also offer support to the community, including vulnerable adults. She also recently established Parajiujitsu-GB to improve access to the sport for people with disabilities and, last year, won the first UAEJJF Para Division World Championship.
“I believe strongly in two things: education to provide aspiration and social mobility, and the power of activity to improve physical and emotional strength and well-being.”
#StrongMcrWomen are purposeful and understanding
Jaheda Choudhury-Potter, Feminist, Musician, Producer
As co-founder and co-frontwoman of UK hiphop act, Ajah UK, Jaheda and her bandmates have made a name for themselves across the UK and beyond. Their approach doesn’t conform to the hetero-normative perceptions of women and they all take great pride in this. On the stage, Jaheda leads an epic and intense collaboration of words, music and entertainment that represents everything they stand for as musicians and women. The Manchester Evening News had this to say: “In a market where hip-hop can flirt with misogyny and the ego can take precedence over the music, Ajah-UK are a real breath of fresh air.”
As a #StrongMcrWomen I’m an intersectional feminist and an LGBT activist
Jane Cordell, Director, Result CIC
Jane has had a fascinatingly varied career as a musician, teacher, editor, diplomat, coach and social entrepreneur. Deaf since her early 20s, she has been active in promoting disability equality and supporting people to achieve their full potential. Having been listed in 2014 as one of the most influential disabled people in Britain, Jane was a worthy winner of the Business Award (for Result CIC) at Manchester’s International Women’s Day Awards in 2017.
#StrongMcrWomen are open-minded and determined.
Shirley May, Wordsmith, Director - Young Identity
As co-founder and Creative Director of Young Identity, a young people's poetry collective, Shirley spent almost 20 years mentoring and supporting new writers. She helped manage the Speakeasy collective at Manchester’s Green Room for five years and was a member of Commonword’s writing development organisation. Shirley won the North West Poetry Slam and is published in several anthologies. She’s a regular performer in the north-west and works nationally and internationally too, notably in New York’s Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York and the Calabash writing festival in Jamaica.
#StrongMcrWomen are feisty and determined
Dr Tasneem Perry, Transformation coach, writer and storyteller
Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Tas came to Manchester in August 2005. Since then, she has finished a Masters degree and a PhD. Her first community project was setting up a reading group, and her lifelong passion for words and stories led to writing too. Along the way she learned to speak up, speak out and write about the truths that matter to her. Since 2015, her Women’s Words project encouraged women across the city to get involved in the telling of their own stories; how Manchester has shaped the women they are today.
“Manchester is the city of the Suffragettes and Peterloo. We don’t take things like injustice, inequality or bigotry sitting down.”
#StrongMcrWomen are authentic and true to themselves
Joanne Roney OBE, Chief Executive, Manchester City Council
From her apprenticeship in local government at the age of 16, Joanne worked her way through the ranks to the top, with a strong track record in transforming public services and delivering major regeneration initiatives. Along the way, her part-time studies earned her an MBA in Public Sector Management, and she was awarded the OBE in 2009 for services to local government. Joanne was appointed as CEO of Manchester City Council in April 2017.
“Manchester is the birthplace of the modern Suffragette movement and I’m proud to be the first female chief executive in the city’s history.”
#StrongMcrWomen are compassionate and powerful
Alex Sporidou, Business Manager, Centrepoint and Chair, Independent Choices
Having worked in housing, homelessness, and services for young people and refugees in both the local authority and charity sectors, Alex developed an interest in issues affecting women, young people and refugees. In 2008, she started volunteering as a trustee with Independent Choices, which has provided a vital service to survivors of domestic abuse and violence for 40 years, and built on its founding feminist politics, mission and values. Since then, Alex has become the position of Chair, which she has held for the last five years. She is passionate about collaborating with others to challenge inequalities and co-design new ways of relating or working together to address social problems.
#StrongMcrWomen are embracing and rebellious
Circle Steele, Chief Executive Officer, Wai Yin Society
Involved in the Chinese community since 1990, Circle was the Youth Development Officer at Wai Yin. Together with the Halifax Bank, on behalf of Wai Yin, she won the British Diversity Gold Award for involving Chinese young people in employment. She was an Associate Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and Research Associate for the Young Heritage Research Project, worked for The Children’s Society as a Programme Manager and consistently champions children and young people in the North West.
#StrongMcrWomen are courageous and determined
Councillor Mary Watson, Grandmother and Women's Aid Advocate
An elected member of Manchester City Council since 2006, Mary was nominated for her extensive career in social work. Having helped to found the second Women’s Aid Refuge in Manchester in the mid 1970s, Mary was then instrumental in the merger of the city’s five refuges to form Manchester Women’s Aid, and then also the merger with the Pankhurst Centre to become The Pankhurst Trust (incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid) a few years ago. She is still a member of the Pankhurst Board, a member of the Age Friendly Manchester Older People’s Board, and “always a feminist.”
#StrongMcrWomen are confident and fearless