Womenspire 2016 – Celebrating the inspirational women of Wales and making the invisible, visible.

Not another awards ceremony I hear you cry! You’re absolutely right – this wasn’t the same old, same old – this was something very different and here’s why we did it…

When I first joined Chwarae Teg nearly three years ago I was asked at my first staff conference why I wanted to work for the organisation.

I explained that I was written off at 11 as “non-academic” by failing my 11+ and from then on my education included classes in sewing, cooking and typing and the aspiration set for me was becoming a secretary. By twists of fate my life turned out differently.

I wanted to work for an organisation that reached out to girls and women with similar experiences; an organisation that broadened horizons and helped women reach their full potential regardless of where they came from or the challenges they faced.

I’m honoured to work for an organisation that does exactly this.

Chwarae Teg’s vision is a Wales where women achieve and prosper – this is what we do and this is why we are holding the inaugural Womenspire Awards in April 2016.

We talked to a lot of people before making the decision to introduce a new Awards Ceremony onto the Welsh scene.

We were given a very clear message – there was no appetite for a black tie event where – and I am paraphrasing – the great and the good congratulated each other on being wonderful.

People talked about looking at categories and predicting who would win what.

Others talked about how they saw the same people in the same venues having the same conversations. We were grateful for this input – we didn’t want to offer that as much as the people we spoke to didn’t want it!

Womenspire 2016 wasn’t just another awards dinner. For a start – there was no dinner! The evening was a true celebration with lots of things happening and lots of surprises that entertained and delighted.

We expected laughter and tears and we wanted people to walk away feeling informed and energized – proud of what women achieve and positive about what the future can hold if we want it to.

At the centre of everything was all of us joining together to celebrate women from all walks of life, backgrounds and experiences who do so much for our small country day in, day out.

Women who, on the whole, go unnoticed and unrecognized but for one day in the year, will be the centre of attention.

Think of all the women you work or come into contact with and take a look at the categories – who do you know who goes unnoticed and deserves someone saying to them, you’re great and we’re grateful for knowing you.

Similarly, which organisations do you know that are trying their best to help their women employees achieve and prosper? We want to thank them too.

We know the challenges and we’re not underestimating them but we also know that the best way to overcome them is by joining together, supporting each other and along the way, celebrating our achievements.

Written by Joy Kent, Chwarae Teg CEO. @joy_chwaraeteg.