8 March 2017

International Women’s Day is 8 March 2017, and to celebrate, we are talking about some of the inspirational women in Sheffield, from athletes to carers, business leaders to scientists.

We’d love you to nominate the women who inspire you, whether they are mums, wives, partners, sisters, neighbours, colleagues or friends.

Tweet us @sheffcouncil using the #womenofsteel2017 hashtag, we’ll be retweeting through the 8 March. Or visit our Facebook page to tell us about your inspiring women there.

All of the inspiring women on our list were born or live in Sheffield.

June Shepherd, one of the UK’s oldest paid carers, aged 81.

June Shepherd Twitter

At 81 years old, Sheffield carer, June Shepherd, might just be one of the UK’s oldest paid carers. June works for Home Instead Senior Care in Sheffield.  She’s looked after for people for more than five years after deciding she needed change. June recently helped someone who had been living rough on the streets for more than three decades.

Debjani Chatterjee MBE, prize winning author, translator and editor of 65+ books

Debjani Chatterjee MBE Twitter

Debjani Chatterjee MBE is an Indian-born British poet who lives in Sheffield.  Debjani has written, translated, or edited more than 65 books, starting with the poetry collection I Was That Woman in 1989. Her book The Elephant-Headed God and Other Hindu Tales was selected for Children’s Books of the Year in 1990. She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2008 and was an Olympic Torchbearer in 2012.

Nancy Fielder, business leader and first female editor of the Sheffield Star

Nancy Fielder Twitter

Nancy Fielder was appointed Editor of the Sheffield Star in April 2016.  Native Sheffielder Nancy became the papers first female editor after serving as acting group editor for JP’s North Midlands newspapers including titles such as the Derbyshire Times, Mansfield Chad, Worksop Guardian and Buxton Advertiser.

Nancy had previously been a reporter on the Sheffield Star for 6 years. Nancy says of the importance of women in media, “Women bring a completely different perspective to so many jobs but it is often particular clear in the media. It is really important that women have the confidence to push for influential jobs in newspapers because they often have a really positive impact in an industry which still remains very male dominated. Journalism is the best job in the world and puts us in a very privileged yet hugely important position. Believe in yourself and challenge yourself to succeed.”

Follow Nancy on Twitter @nancyfielder

Dame Jess Ennis-Hill, Olympic champion, 3 time world champion, Sheffield sports legend

jess ennis use twitter

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is an Olympic and 3 time world champion heptathlete.  Jessica attended local athletics camps and at the age of 13 had her first coaching session with Tony Minichello, shortly after she joined City of Sheffield Athletics Club. Jessica was world heptathlon champion in 2009, 2011 and 2015.  She was the European champion in 2010, won gold in the London 2012 olympics and silver in Rio 2016.  In June Jessica was inducted into the Sheffield Legends ‘Walk of Fame’,

Follow @j_ennis on Twitter

Dr Helen Sharman OBE, first Briton in space, eminent scientist

Helen Sharman Twitter

Dr. Helen Sharman OBE FRSC is a British scientist who became the first British astronaut and the first woman to visit the Mir space station in 1991. Sharman, originally from Grenoside, received a BSc in chemistry at the University of Sheffield in 1984 and a PhD from Birkbeck, University of London.

Sharman responded to a radio advertisement asking for applicants to be the first British astronaut and was selected for the mission live on ITV in 1989, ahead of nearly 13,000 other applicants.  In May 1991, Helen Sharman became the first Briton in space. The Soyuz TM-12 mission which included Soviet cosmonauts  lasted eight days, most of that time spent at the Mir space station.

Sharman is now operations manager of Imperial College London’s chemistry department.

Rachel Tomlinson, 1st female mechanical engineering academic at University of Sheffield in 1998 and Director of Learning and Teaching for Mechanical Engineering at The University of Sheffield

Rachel Tomlinson

Rachel Tomlinson is the Director of Learning and Teaching for Mechanical Engineering at The University of Sheffield, responsible for the delivery of Mechanical Engineering Education to just under 1000 students.

Rachel is also a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Her research is in the area of experimental mechanics, primarily in the development and use of optical instruments to measure strain.  She has expertise in 3D Photoelasticity, Thermoelastic Stress Analysis, Digital Image Correlation, and Experimental Fracture Mechanics.
Rachel is currently working in the following research areas:

Fracture Mechanics Applications of Thermoelastic Stress Analysis
Multi-scale damage modelling of particulate reinforced polymers
Using additive layer manufacture to produce scaled structural models                                                 Through thickness stress analysis in glass using Magnetophotoelasticity
3-d strain measurement in engineering components using Tomographic Photoelasticity

Read more about Rachel’s impressive achievements, success and research.

Sara Saxon, charity worker who has helped thousands of people in Sheffield learn to speak English.

Sara Saxon Twitter

Sara Saxon manages local charity SAVTE which teaches English as a second language.  She came to England as a refugee more than 30 years ago and didn’t speak any English. Since then, through her work for SAVTE she has helped thousands of people in Sheffield learn English and become less isolated, find work and do more in their community.

Rachel Cutting MBE, Principal Embryologist at Jessop Fertility

Rachel Cutting MBE

Rachel has worked as an embryologist for over 22 years, her role as Principal Embryologist at Jessop Fertility involves working closely with patients using the latest technology to help couples conceive through IVF treatment.

The NHS managed unit has helped thousands of local couples have a family. She has chaired the embryology professional body and worked on various groups to help shape the safety and success of IVF treatments, leading to the publication of national guidelines.  Her role in helping to reduce the risks to mother and child through reducing multiple pregnancies from treatments led to her being awarded an MBE in 2015.  Rachel regularly speaks at international conferences and takes part in educational workshops in countries where IVF is less advanced. Rachel has helped shape the national training scheme for embryologists, writing the curriculum and being part of the national assessment team. Living locally all her life Rachel is proud to be a part of the Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and to help local couples realise their dream of a family.

Professor Dame Pamela Shaw, Professor of Neurology, University of Sheffield, researcher in motor neurone function.

Pamela Shaw twitter

Professor Shaw graduated in Medicine with 1st Class Honours from the University of Newcastle in 1979. She undertook her MRCP and Specialist Training in Neurology training in Newcastle.

In 1997 she was appointed Professor of Neurological Medicine at the University of Newcastle and in 2000 was appointed as Professor of Neurology at the University of Sheffield.

Professor Shaw’s research is focused on 3 main goals:

  1. To understand the function of motor neurones in health and disease and to translate basic science findings into health benefits for patients with degenerative motor system disorders.
  2. To provide excellent clinical care for patients with motor system disorders, at all disease stages incorporating: multidisciplinary team working, evidence based standards of care for symptomatic management, and evaluation of new neuroprotective therapies.
  3. To foster excellent training for clinical and scientific junior staff with the aim of ensuring high standards of future care and linking new developments in medical science firmly to the needs of patients with neurological disorders.

Grace Clough MBE, Paralympic Gold medallist and double world champion

grace clough twitter

Grace was talent spotted at a ParalympicsGB Sports Fest at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in Sheffield, where she tried out a range of disability sports she had no rowing experience. Grace took up rowing in 2013 began training on the High Performance Programme at Nottingham Rowing Club, she impressed, earning an invite to train full-time with the GB para-rowing squad in January 2014.

She made her international debut in June of that year, winning a superb gold in the LTA mixed coxed four at the World Cup in Aiguebelette. Grace’s team had a clear victory again at the World Championships in Amsterdam.  The team retained their world title in 2015.  Grace and her team won gold in the Rio Paralympics 2016.

Follow @graceclough on Twitter

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield and producer and curator of Festival of the Mind

Vanessa Toulmin

Lesley Webster of Off the Shelf says about Vanessa “She is inspirational – a fantastic leader and supporter of culture and creativity in the city.  She is a real driving force – raising funds for amazing cultural projects, supporting and nurturing the sector, generous with sharing her expertise with others.   She is passionate about her adopted city and takes every opportunity to shout about how great Sheffield is.  She is helping to make sure Sheffield is “looking good on the dance floor”.

Follow Vanessa Toulmin on Twitter @professorvaness

Anne Wilson MBE, award winning Managing Director, awarded MBE for services to engineering

Anne Wilson MBE Twitter

Anne Wilson was born & bred in the ‘steel city’ of Sheffield.  Anne is an award winning Managing Director operating in the precision engineering sector who received an MBE for Services to Engineering in 2016.  In 2000 Anne joined Numill, a precision engineering company, as its bookkeeper.

Returning to education aged 40 she qualified with ACCA, Accounting Technician, followed by a management degree & a post-graduate qualification in Strategic Management.  The MBO of Numill Ltd was the subject of Anne’s dissertation.  Bringing the MBO to fruition she purchased the company in October 2006 from the founding owner who began in 1969. Anne, a Chartered Manager, steered the Company through the deepest part of the recession, her priorities now are to drive the Company forward in the UK & through export but also to ensure that vital skills are passed on for the future.

With this in mind & believing in ‘Life Long Learning’ Anne is now a Governor at Sheffield College and also at a primary school, Greengate Academy in Sheffield.  She is Cutlers Champion at Outwood Academy City in the Sheffield and taking up a role as Enterprise Advisor for this secondary school.

Paulette Edwards “Respected BBC Broadcaster”

Paulette Edwards Twitter

Paulette Edwards is a BBC Radio Sheffield presenter who was born and raised in Sheffield, in Pitsmoor and Burngreave.  Paulette never planned on a career in broadcasting, she worked as a teacher and head of year until she had to leave the profession due to ill health.  Paulette started working at Radio Sheffield as a receptionist but her keen interest and skill in on-air work soon saw her presenting. Paulette began with a show called New Black, focusing on the African Caribbean community, before moving to a mainstream, daytime programme.

Paulette presents the 10am-1pm show on Radio Sheffield. Read more about Paulette in her interview with the Sheffield Star. Follow @pauletteish on Twitter

Ellie Simpson, creator CP Teens UK, helping young people with cerebal palsy.

Ellie Simpson

Ellie Simpson studies BSc Sport Development with Coaching. She has cerebral palsy and competes for England in RaceRunning, a sport for disabled people with impaired balance. In 2015 she won two gold medals in the World Cerebral Palsy Games and was named a Jack Wills Young Brit of the Year.

She said: ‘I set up CP Teens UK to help young people with Cerebral Palsy like myself. I had become socially isolated by able-bodied peers, resulting in me having very low confidence and self-esteem. I felt that maybe it wasn’t just me who was experiencing this and it wasn’t – there were hundreds of other young people up & down the UK with Cerebral Palsy/physical disability who were feeling and experiencing the same things.

CP Teens UK gives young people with Cerebral Palsy/physical disabilities help, hope, inspiration and friendship, as well as providing them with a voice.’

Pic credit Sheffield Hallam University, read more of their inspiring International Women’s Day stories.

Professor Laura Serrant,  leading UK healthcare expert

Laura Serrant

Laura is one of the UK’s leading healthcare experts. She has spent decades carrying out ground-breaking research into inequalities in public health. She remains clinically active as well as being a first class researcher.

‘As a Black woman and Professor of Nursing – one of the few Black Professors of Nursing, I believe diverse leadership is key to all our futures.

‘My approach to work and life is summed up in the phrase “lift as you climb” – I have always been acutely aware that many of my family, like others, travelled to the UK from the Caribbean and worked to support the social and economic development of the UK, particularly in NHS and education. I am motivated by their bravery and endeavours to not only improve their own lives but that of others.’

Pic credit Sheffield Hallam University, read more of their inspiring International Women’s Day stories.

Flat Friends UK – Sheffield and South Yorkshire, charity supporting women living with mastectomy and without reconstruction.

Flat Friends

Flat Friends is the only UK charity supporting women living with mastectomy and without reconstruction. Our experiences have changed us, but we wanted to show that life goes on and that friendship matters far more than bodyshape. November in our 2017 calendar shows our group of local South Yorkshire ladies, our own #womenofsteel2017  #flatfriendsuk #allwoman #breastfree Photo copyright Sarah J Dow | Flat Friends UK

Email Support@flatfriends.org.uk

Julie Dore, Leader Sheffield City Council

Julie says “Having more women in positions of power is essential to achieving organisations which have a gender balance of style, attitude and culture, ensuring that they remain ‘in-touch’ and accessible. Just as important is recognising the achievements of the women delivering in these positions. Not only showing to our young women that leadership is attainable but also how you can make a real difference.

You don’t have to have leader in your title to be a woman who leads, there are many women leaders in our communities, parent governors, patient governors, community leaders, and we need to celebrate their achievements and what they bring to the table.”

Tell us about your inspiring women @sheffcouncil on Twitter.