Seeing as it's International Women’s Day next week, we wanted to take the chance to highlight and celebrate some incredibly influential women who every day represent Manchester in the work that they do. With an incredible range of talent and skill, these women have made leaps and bounds in their lives, and we hope that you find their stories as impressive and inspirational as we do.
Dame Sarah Storey
Born in Salford, Dame Sarah Storey is Great Britain’s most successful female Paralympian of all time – having won 5 Paralympic gold medals, and six world championship titles as a swimmer. In 2005, Sarah switched to cycling and has since won 14 gold medals, which is more than any other woman from the UK. She also has 29 world titles, 21 European titles, and 75 world records – an incredible achievement in as far as we’re concerned. Sarah has also inspired countless athletes to go on and have their own sporting careers and inspired us with everything that she has accomplished.
Erinma Bell MBE
As the co-founder of the charity CARISMA which works to give young people positive alternatives to crime on the streets, Erinma Bell is a widely recognised and celebrated peace activist and champion for social justice in Manchester. Her work is so well-known and had such a positive impact, that she was made an MBE in 2010 in the Queen’s Birthday list. Part of the wide inspirational network of volunteers and community leaders across Hulme, Moss Side, and Levenshulme, CARISMA strive for a socially inclusive community. Erinma is also the first woman who has ever been commemorated with a statue in Manchester Town Hall, for the work that she has done – which is definitely worth a visit when you’re next in the area!
A Salford tech pioneer that founded the world’s first cloud-based website builder, who then went on to sell it for £23 million, Wendy Tan is an absolute inspiration to anyone looking to get into the tech industry. Now investing her time and money into new start-ups throughout the world, Wendy also assists with the development and funding for the evolution and potential power of artificial intelligence.
After tragically losing her brother due to his battle with mental health, addiction, and rough sleeping, Risha Lancaster co-founded the Mancunian homeless charity Coffee4Craig in his memory. From its founding in 2013 to the present day, Coffe4Craig has partnered with many other homeless charities, including Centre Point North, and was even featured in the Greater Manchester Housing Action Network (GMHAN) launched by Andy Burnham in 2018.
Today, Risha is a key part in helping the homeless population in Manchester, and continuously works to provide clothing, food, and shelter to some of the city’s most vulnerable.
The stories of Sarah, Erinma, Wendy, and Risha are all so inspiring, and we are honoured to be able to celebrate them on this International Women’s Day. We’d love to which women in your lives inspire you and why – so let us know on our socials.