Last week over 300 people came together at an awards ceremony in Cardiff to celebrate the professional and personal achievements of women across Wales.
The first Womenspire Awards was held at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and was attended by both individuals and organisations.
The ceremony broke the traditional awards dinner model, as guests were entertained throughout the evening with performances from No Fit State Circus, Rubicon Dance, MeloD, and InspireMe Choir.
The high-profile event was organised by Chwarae Teg, a charity that is internationally recognised for leading the way in supporting women in the workplace to reach their full potential.
Women from a wide range of backgrounds were honoured for their commitment and performance across thirteen different categories, including the media, community, sport and education.
The awards kicked off with the employer categories, which celebrated Welsh organisations that have recognised the importance of making the most of their female talent pool and have established initiatives to help them achieve their goals.
Employer of the Year (Private Sector), sponsored by Principality – Complete Background Screening based in Pontypridd
Employer of the Year (Public Sector), sponsored by Highgrade Recruitment – Bangor University
Employer of the Year (Third Sector), sponsored by NPT Homes – Ethnic Youth Support Team
The Pioneer Award celebrated women who have contributed to workplaces and careers in the science, technology, engineering and maths sectors (STEM). While there are a number of impressive women in Wales working in these areas, statistics show that the Welsh economy is still failing to recruit, retain and promote women in the same numbers as men.
Pioneer in STEM, sponsored by University of South Wales – Dr Kelly BéruBé
The Personal Achievement award was created to recognise individuals who have faced and overcome challenges, such as domestic abuse, loss of a child to a disability and have consequently created positive outcomes. After much debate, the judges reached the conclusion that none of the finalists’ experiences or achievements could be seen as greater or lesser than the others, and therefore presented all of the finalists with awards.
Personal Achievement – Sarah Lawrence, Rachel Williams, Rhian Burke, Catherine Burton
The Woman in Sport award was presented to Welsh hockey player, Beth Fisher, for her role as an LGBT ambassador and her commitment to sport.
Woman in Sport, sponsored by Sport Wales – Beth Fisher
The Women In a Rural Community category celebrated those who have made significant contributions to Welsh culture, identity and the local economy.
Woman in a Rural Community, sponsored by Welsh Government – Lesley Long
The Women in Public Life category rewarded the contributions women have made to Wales’ public institutions and bodies. Similar to the Personal Achievement Award, judges were unable to come to a definitive conclusion for this category and therefore congratulated all nominees for their dedication to helping women achieve and prosper in Wales.
Woman in Public Life – Joyce Watson AM, Councillor Sara Jones, Sarah Rees and Leanne Wood AM
This award celebrated the most successful women in the Welsh media, with finalists including Lowri Morgan, Mariclare Carey-Jones and Emily Hogan Turner.
Woman in Media, sponsored by Brighter Comms – Lowri Morgan
Although women account for the majority of the education sector workforce, they remain under-represented in leadership roles. This category celebrated women and initiatives that are currently trying to promote gender equality.
Woman in Education, sponsored by NPTC Group – Professor Karen Holford
The Rising Star category recognised women who are relatively new to their workplace however have already achieved exceptional progress and are ‘ones to watch’ moving forward.
Rising Star, sponsored by PwC – Kate Griffiths
The Woman in Enterprise award celebrated women who have set up their own highly successful business, which is making a significant impact in Wales and beyond.
Woman in Enterprise, sponsored by CMI Wales – Anna Bastek
The final award of the evening recognised women over the last year who have made a large impact improving the lives of others around them.
Outstanding Contribution, sponsored by GE Aviation Wales – Sian Cushion
Joy Kent, CEO of Chwarae Teg, said: “Yesterday’s Womenspire Awards was the first ceremony we’ve hosted and we want it to become a key date in the calendar moving forward.
“As a Welsh charity, our vision is a Wales where women achieve and prosper. Often, the work which women and organisations are doing on a daily basis goes unrecognised, however we feel it’s important to change this and share with others the inspirational journeys that women have been on and celebrate their amazing achievements as a result”.