Congratulations to all the women who have been recognised at the Women of the Year Awards today. The Awards provide a great platform for the achievements of women to be celebrated, and help to identify hard-working positive female role models at a time when ‘celebrity’ status is seen as the quick route to fame and fortune.
Given the varied range of experience and achievement across the field of awardees, one thing that I do feel detracts from the positive message that these awards send out is the coverage, or lack of, in the press today. The little coverage there has been has focused for the most part on the celebrity of a select few of the recipients.
There is no doubt that Lifetime Achievement winner Lulu, who was propelled to fame at the age of 14 from a Glasgow sink estate, has worked hard over the course of her long career to achieve international acclaim and recognition in the world of entertainment. Nor do I doubt that Lulu provides an inspirational figure to many women. However, I do think it is important to take stock of the achievements of this years other winners, who are equally inspirational yet have been almost absent in the media today.
Dr El Saadawi, selected for the Outstanding Achievement Award, has worked relentlessly for the advancement of women’s rights, especially against the practice of female genital mutilation. Her work, not just in her home country of Egypt but also at the global level, is truly admirable, especially given the persecution and backlash she has faced for speaking out.
The joint winners of the Women of the Year Award are: Debby Edwards, Victoria Mulleady, Sergeant Lauren Odell, Kate Sherman Surgeon Commander Sarah Stapley and Sarah Winters. These women have been chosen as representatives of all the British women who have helped change the lives of others. The common link between recipients this year is that they are all involved in the medical profession and have provided care for UK military personnel.
This year also marks the first year that the Inspirational Women of the Year Award has been presented. The winner is selected by the viewers of ITV’s Lorraine Show, hosted by Lorraine Kelly (UK news reader and TV personality). This year the award was given to Jackie Millerchip who cares for children with disabilities. Jackie was chosen for the way she goes beyond the basic job description every day in her work.
Katie Piper who was presented with the You Can Award, is another inspirational every-woman who shows how individuals can fight adversity on a personal level to achieve great success. Katie now helps other burns victims to transform their lives through the Katie Piper Foundation.
So congratulations once again to the women who have been brought into the spotlight today, their achievements are definitely ones to celebrate, and let’s also take this opportunity to give a thought about all the other inspirational women who we meet on a daily basis.