To be honest, the women of Manchester inspire us 365 days a year — but for International Women’s Day this year, we’re making sure we shout extra loud about them.
From fabulous creatives to those challenging equity in the construction industry, Manchester has no shortage of trailblazers. This #IWD, we’ve put together a list of four of our favourite inspirational Mancunian creatives, pioneers and leaders to watch.
Whether you’re a poet, a painter, or pottery’s more your thing, we’re sure you can appreciate a good piece of art, so meet the creative woman blazing a trail as an artist and making space for marginalised groups in Manchester.
Founder of Cheshire-based Aim Sky High Dance Company (ASH), Christina Rehana Taylor is an entrepreneur on a mission to give children from the ages of three years old and teenagers and adults up to 25 years old the resources to be successful in both the creative industry and wider life through dance, drama, and singing tuition. Christina was named Business Insider’s #1 Female Founder of Colour to Watch in Europe — and it’s easy to see why.
After being born in London and moving to Manchester aged 5, Christina has always had a knack for entrepreneurship, having set up her own dance group between the ages of 16-19 and raising over £70,000 to do various dance projects with children and young people in her local community. After attending University of Manchester, Christina was inspired to set up ASH.
Christina’s tuition program provides a safe space for children with unstable personal lives and offers scholarships for those who otherwise would not be able to afford the classes, making sure that students from all backgrounds receive the same opportunities. Students from ASH have been hand-picked to dance with the likes of Justin Bieber and Stormzy and chosen to appear on huge national TV channels like CBeebies.
Christina sums ASH up best herself in this inspiring statement; “improving social mobility is my primary objective in life.” You can learn more about Christina’s work on ASH’s website.
It’s 2023, but let’s face it — there are still some jobs that people (wrongly) associate with men, and it can be difficult to kick these biases. So, meet the Mancunian woman paving the way to end unconscious bias in one of the UK’s least diverse industries.
Think about it — when you think of a construction worker, do you imagine a woman? When people think of hard hats and hi-vis, they mainly think of men, and that’s exactly what Manchester’s Lucy Bradbury is looking to change.
After arriving on a site for the first time, Lucy described it as a ‘culture shock’, as she was the ‘only woman there’. But this only spurred her on, she says.
Lucy now works with 60 of the biggest construction contractors in the UK to drive the fight for diversity, equity and inclusion within the industry. She also works to make the industry more welcoming to the LGBTQIA+ community by teaching people in the industry about social sustainability and unconscious biases that show up in industries like construction.
In 2021, Lucy won ‘Inspirational Leader of the Year’ at the British LGBTQ+ Awards 2021 for her outstanding work in making her industry more diverse.
One thing we love to see is women supporting and uplifting other women, so here are our two favourite examples right now (and believe us, it was hard to pick just two!) of women empowering women in Manchester.
Talk about an inspiring woman in business — Jennifer Tattersall is a Marketing Consultant, business owner, and mentor to women. Oh, and she’s also got a Diploma in Relationship Psychology AND a CBT certification.
Jennifer is also Community Manager at Manchester Girl Network, a network that aims to provide a safe space for Manchester’s women to make friends, share resources, and attend events and talks. Jennifer and the team at Manchester Girl work to make sure support like mental and physical health services and opportunities to socialise are easily available for local women and girls.
Jennifer and the team’s work at Manchester Girl Network is truly making a difference, especially at a time when many of us work remotely and (let’s be honest) can get pretty lonely. Manchester Girl Network are looking to help alleviate this loneliness with their buzzing events timetable of coffee mornings, book clubs, networking events, and coworking clubs. Find out more over on their Instagram at @manchestergirlnetwork.
After working together as sous-chef and sommelier at Erst in Ancoats, the incredibly talented Anna Søgaard and Kim McBride founded SuppHER in 2018. As feminists, both wanted to use their skills to raise money for charities supporting women and create a safe and inclusive space to meet like-minded people.
SuppHER host their amazing events in venues all around Manchester, providing delicious food and drink at extravagant dinner parties you can enjoy with friends, or turn up to solo. The best part? All ticket proceeds from each event go to a chosen charity that supports women. We’ll see you at their next dinner party!
Who would you include on your list? Tell us which women inspire you in Manchester over on our socials @mapartments.