Last night I was honoured to be invited along to celebrate the International Women’s Day 2015 Awards, Manchester. I donned a suitable amount of plumage and went along to the Manchester Town Hall with the Manchester Girl Geeks who were nominated for the ‘Breaking through in volunteering’ award. As a volunteer run group Manchester Girl Geeks hold regular Tea Parties and events to encourage and inspire girls and women to pursue careers in technology, mathematics and science. Upon arrival we indulged in a welcome drink, listened to choir performances from the Arden School of Theatre before, The Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester, Council Sue Cooley gave a few words about the significance of the evening’s proceedings. The theme of the evening was ‘breaking through the glass ceiling’ Drinks in hand, we were ushered through to the spectacular Great Hall as the choir played Aretha Franklin’s ‘I Will Survive’….”go walk out the door, don’t turn around now” – fabulous song choice, felt quite comedic as we all walked out the door and made our way to our tables in time for dinner.
Our compare for the evening was singer/ songwriter Claire Mooney who ensured the evening ran seamlessly and with plenty of laughs. In the centre of our tables were some beautiful flowers, for dinner we enjoyed chargrilled vegetables, hummus and pitta bread followed by a curry with rice and a chocolate mouse desert. Whilst we dined we were treated to a very heart warming performance from WAST (Women Asylum Seekers Together) Choir, which was a little emotional to watch knowing the incredible journeys the ladies have been on and the joy they created when they sang. Following the WAST Choir we listened to Keynote Speaker Sally MacDonald, Director of the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) Sally spoke very openly about imposter syndrome, networking and the importance of being an empowering manager, leading by example. Sally gave us an insight into her career from her early jobs, to struggling to get a work/ life balance following her second child and how she has managed to break through the glass ceiling to manage a large museum. Mother and I found Sally’s speech most interesting as some of you will know, my sister Theresa manages the Museum of Brands, London so we could relate to a lot of the points Sally made about the struggles women face becoming managers in the cultural sector.Councilor Josie Teubler, Lead Member of Women’s Issues introduced a wonderful short film created by the students of the Manchester College. Following the film the audience asked the students a series of questions. The students spoke wisely about the importance of eradicating gender equality at a very early age, the way we behave is taught or copied so we need to tackle these issues in childhood before they become a problem. Awards & winners included: Breaking through in Volunteering- MASH (Manchester Action of Street Health) Breaking through in Sport & Leisure or Art and Culture- Anna Mayne Young women breaking through- Charlene McKenzie Breaking through in campaigning- Miriam Yusuf Breaking through in Business and Legal or Science and Technology- Professor Caroline Dive Women’s Recognition Award in Memory of Margaret Ashton- Hilder Palmer HUGE congratulations to all those inspiring women that won an award and to all the nominees who work tirelessly day in day out to make the world a more beautiful place. It was so inspiring to hear the stories of ladies that are out working in the community touching peoples lives in such a positive way. Manchester Girl Geeks are hosting celebrating International Women’s Day!! ‘Making IT Happen for Women’ focuses on the tech business and inspiring future generations to aim higher by seeing and hearing other women talking about their experience. Click on the banner to book your place:
“Anyone can think the unthinkable, anyone can break though” -Sally Macdonald #MOSI