Women from all walks of life attended a packed awards ceremony to celebrate women’s achievements in Manchester Town Hall on Friday 6 March.
The International Women’s Day awards, now in their third year, celebrated inspirational women, recognising their valuable contribution to the city and their outstanding work in a range of categories. It also included a special recognition award named in memory of Margaret Ashton the first female councillor in Manchester.
Breaking Through, Manchester’s theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, aims to serve as a reminder of the glass ceiling that women have had to break through over the years to change perceptions about what they can do challenging stereotypes and achieving in all areas of life both professionally and personally.
Councillor Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council said: "The women of this city never cease to amaze me. Although there are only five awards there are thousands of winners. I would like to say thank you to all those women who continue to strive and fight for equality in the city and who play such a vital role in making Manchester the place that people want to work and live in today."
The Women Asylum Seekers Together choir from Greater Manchester treated the audience to a thought-provoking collection of songs about the day to day struggles of many asylum seekers. The event also included an engaging film made by students from Manchester College looking at young people’s perceptions of the barriers that face women today.
Manchester City Council works in partnership with a range of organisations across the City including the BBC, the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University as well as active local women to mark and celebrate International women’s Day.
The IWD wards are sponsored by Manchester City Football Club, Manchester College and Manchester Metropolitan University.
This year's winners include:
Breaking through in Business, Legal or Science and Technology -Professor Caroline Dive
Professor Caroline Dive is the Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, where she leads the Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology group. Over the last 10 years, Professor Dive has become internationally renowned for the development of circulating tumour cells, which enables the investigation of a patient’s disease in a minimally invasive manner. She has pioneered the bench-to-bedside approach of scientist like herself working with clinicians to translate research into patient benefit. One of her other passions is "to get more girls and women into science".
Breaking Through In Campaigning -Mariam Yusuf
Mariam has been recognised for her extensive work campaigning for the rights of people who have arrived in the UK to seek safety from persecution. She is an active member of many local groups including Women Asylum Seekers Together, Dignity not Destitution and United for Change. Leading by example, Mariam has bravely shared her own personal experiences about seeking sanctuary. She encourages others to get involved and play an active part in campaigning. Her drive, passion and commitment to making the lives of others better was noted by the panel.
Breaking Through in Sport, Leisure or Art and Culture - Anna Mayne
Anna is an athlete and coach. Anna regularly coaches classes and provides mentoring to a small group of women as well as co-ordinating a range of women only events and training sessions. Anna made a huge breakthrough this year by gaining her Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This takes on average ten years to achieve and Anna is only one of five females in the country to achieve this.
Breaking through in Volunteering – MASH.
Manchester Action on Street Health (MASH). MASH is charity, whose volunteers provide women working in the sex industry in Manchester with a range of confidential and non-judgemental services. The volunteers support women with all kinds of issues including housing and welfare. The volunteers essentially support their physical and mental wellbeing in challenging situations. The panel wanted to recognise the vital support the volunteers provide to vulnerable women.
Young Woman Breaking Through- Charelle McKenzie
Charelle McKenzie is a young student dedicated to performing arts; she works part-time and supports her siblings with their children. Charelle actively supports and inspires young Black and Minority Ethnic Lesbian and Bisexual women. Charelle played a key role in leading on informal discussion around race, ethnicity, racism and stereotypes facilitating other young BME & Lesbian and Bisexual women to discuss and reflect on their experiences of issues around sexual orientation and race/ethnicity. The panel felt that Charelle had broken through many barriers clearly illustrating passion and drive which deserved recognition.
Women’s Recognition Award in memory of Margaret Ashton - Hilda Palmer