International Women's Day 2017 at Winwick Hall

8 March 2017

On Wednesday 8th March Northamptonshire Community Foundation welcomed more than 70 women from across the county to Winwick Hall to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017.

The event celebrated the achievements of women as well as calling for greater equality. Kindly sponsored by Northamptonshire based cosmetics company Avon UK, the day was filled with engaging talks from four inspirational guest speakers, Judith Allnatt (Acclaimed novelist and short story writer), Debra Charles (CEO Novacroft Group), Glennis Hooper (Executive Fundraiser,  Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal) and Becky James (2x Silver Olympic Track Cyclist). Bruce Green, owner of Winwick Hall, provided a superb venue for the event with free use of the ballroom.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Be Bold For Change, women were asked what bold actions they were going to take to accelerate gender parity.

Acclaimed author, Judith Allnatt spoke of the challenges faced by becoming a female writer, "Fulfilling any dream is mainly about being bold enough to start. For me, as a writer, it took courage and the support of women friends to trust that others would be interested in what I had to say. Whatever your dream - be bold, begin it!"  

Debra Charles, Chief Executive of Novacroft is a key ambassador for technology and innovation. She discussed how a low number of women work in the STEM industry. “It's about recognising that standing out from the crowd (being different) is a good thing. With robotics and artificial intelligence becoming more prevalent, to inspire their future, it's vital that we show children the amazing things technology can do. Unless we encourage girls to study STEM subjects there will not be enough people, in the next decade, to fill the available technology roles, yet there will be significantly more people without jobs in the UK, as robotics replaces many manual/human activities.”

Glennis Hooper founded Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer aged 46. “Adopting a ‘be bold for change’ attitude I focussed my energies and made a commitment to helping people by throwing myself into setting up and developing our breast cancer charity. For me it was a way of showing the authorities I wasn’t ill and that I had a great deal to offer. International Women’s Day is an ideal opportunity for the world to see how many, many women have successfully turned their lives around when adversity strikes”.

Becky James enjoyed Olympic success at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, winning 2 Silver medals in the Track Cycling. Becky took part in a Q and A session with guests including students from Northampton High School. Becky spoke about the importance of challenging yourself as a woman.

International Women’s day marks the one year anniversary of Avon’s Female Empowerment Fund which was officially launched last year at Northamptonshire Community Foundation’s event at Highgate House.

Andrea Slater, UK President and Group Vice President W Europe,  Avon said “Avon is proud to continue its partnership with NCF by supporting this conference and announcing an extension of the Avon Empowerment Fund.  The fund has already offered financial support to groups in this area that provide opportunities and services for women and girls and we are delighted that it will continue to do so.  As the company for women, Avon has a long heritage of empowering women, from offering women the opportunity to earn before they could vote to being the biggest global supporter of women’s causes.  International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to come together and celebrate what women can achieve if we support each other.”

Northamptonshire Community Foundation Chief Executive, Victoria Miles DL said “The Foundation is thrilled to be hosting International Women’s Day for the third year running,  welcoming more guests than in previous years.  We actively support, fund and promote women’s projects across the county.  The Community Foundation will continue to be bold in raising awareness for those projects providing essential services to women and children in Northamptonshire.”

Special goody bags were given out to all women who attended including products from Avon, Berties Boutique (courtesy of Leonie Wilds) & Hensman Salon (courtesy of Julie Hensman).

If you run a project supporting women and girls in Northamptonshire you can apply for our Avon Female Empowerment Fund.