Teachers, Student Midwives, Activists, Scientists, Theatre Directors, Entrepreneurs and Employers from across Wales have all be shortlisted as finalists for this year’s Womenspire Awards ahead of the celebration on 21 June at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

Chwarae Teg received over 300 nominations across the 12 categories recognising the extraordinary achievements many individuals and organisations have made in leading equality in their industry such as business, arts, sports, STEM, rural and education.  The finalists were announced on social media through Chwarae Teg’s Twitter and Facebook pages from 9am on Friday 19 May.

Sponsored by CGI and supported by a range of other organisations, the Womenspire events is an awards ceremony like no other. The evening will showcase the remarkable achievements of women, recognise the contribution of organisations and individuals working to make gender equality a reality and inspire future generations.

Chief Executive, Cerys Furlong said, “Following the success of last year’s event we knew that there were more incredible individuals achieving and championing equality here in Wales. We’ve been overwhelmed with the stories and have seen some empowering and compelling nominations that we can’t wait to share with you on 21 June at the Wales Millennium Centre”

Women from across all ages, careers and communities have been nominated who have been real inspirations for others. Here are just some of the stories from the final 36 finalists:

From broke young girl to successful business woman:

Gemma Richards from Swansea is one of the finalists for the Business/ Enterprise Award. At the age of 26, Gemma Richards faced redundancy from SA Flyers. Using money from her own pocket she bought and invested in the company and 6 years later the company is thriving working over 150 retailers including Tesco and Specsavers, delivering more than 2.6 million leaflets per month across the region.

The women working in a man’s industry:

Chelbie Jones is currently an apprentice carpenter with Bouygues UK and is nearing the end of her level 4 and ILM level 2. She knew she had chosen a path where women are underrepresented when she was the only female in a group of 60 Carpentry students, but is determined to succeed.

The Teachers who make a difference:

Joanne Thomas is the head of the Specialist Resource Base, at Pentrebane Primary School, Cardiff. Joanne was nominated for her interventions and support which have been life-changing for some families. Her nominee said, “my daughter spent the first year of her education in a mainstream school and in a constant state of anxiety. Her behaviour was seemingly uncontrollable, self-injurious, and enormously distressing for her and for everyone involved in her care.  After only a year in the base, the smile on her face when I tell her that it’s time for school – and that she is going to be able to see her favourite teacher – is all the evidence I need that Jo is a hero.”

Viv Buckley, Deputy Principal at Bridgend College has over 30 years’ experience in Education with her nominee saying, “Viv makes me believe that anything is possible.”

Viv has delivered several incredibly exciting projects and mentors young females as part of the LEAD project run by the Bridgend Public Service Board.

Learner of the Year Sian Preddy from Bridgend was told by a careers officer that she would not be suitable as a nurse as she was ‘too deaf.’ Several years later through determination she returned to learning to do her CACHE Level 3 Award in Childcare and Education and is now a Student Midwife. Her nominee said, “Returning to education was remarkably difficult. Sian could not hear the lecturers, and they were not deaf aware. She was struggling. But she persevered, knowing this was a career she would really love and had a passion for.”

The full list of finalists is available at https://www.cteg.org.uk/womenspire-17/

The winners will be announced as part of the Womenspire Ceremony celebrations at Wales Millennium Centre on Wednesday 21 June, which will be hosted by Welsh soprano and TV and Radio presenter Shân Cothi; will include performances by young circus act Organised Kaos, Cardiff’s community dancers from Rubicon Dance and more musical performances on stage, as well as fizz and canapés on arrival.

Womenspire Awards 2017 will be an opportunity to network and celebrate the achievements across Wales. Tickets are on sale now and are £35. Tickets must be purchased by 7 June. Tickets are available through Wales Millennium Centre on 029 2063 6464 and wmc.org.uk.