Portraits of inspiring Yorkshire women and girls showcased in Westminster

An exhibition celebrating enterprising women and girls from Yorkshire, is heading down to London this week to be displayed in the Houses of Parliament.

An exhibition of photographs and stories of the enterprising girls and women who have participated in the Connecting Enterprising Women and Girls programme is being displayed at Portcullis House, Palace of Westminster from 28 February - 24 March 2014 to celebrate International Women's Day.

The exhibition features 100 portraits by photographers Nick Gregan and Johanna Hilton, accompanied by extracts from the individual stories of the girls' and women's journeys through life.

Included in the exhibition are portraits of six female Yorkshire MPs, Baroness Margaret Eaton, three University of Leeds academics, women entrepreneurs and girls from Leeds East Academy, David Young Community Academy and John Smeaton Community College.

The exhibition will return to Leeds to be exhibited at The Enterprise Foundation, Headingley from the 26 March until the 3 April, as a culmination of Leeds’ month-long celebrations to mark International Women’s Day.

On Tuesday 4 March 75 girls and women from the programme will travel to the Houses of Parliament to see the exhibition, meet MPs and attend the annual International Women's Day lecture.

The Connecting Girls programme was initially piloted with Leeds East Academy over an eighteen month period, as a partnership between Leeds City Council and a not-for-profit organisation, Connecting Enterprising Women (CEW) www.connectingenterprisinggirls.co.uk The programme has now been extended to the two other academies in the Seacroft/Manston cluster, the John Smeaton Community College and the David Young Community Academy.

The programme addresses a gap with regards to girls from local communities having opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial skills whilst still in education. The pilot programme delivered a number of events to mark last year’s International Women’s Day, National Women’s Day, and in establishing an annual conference, planned by the girls themselves, which was held last November.

Ruth Dass, Director of CEW and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, said:

“Connecting Enterprising Women and Girls is very proud of what the programme has so far achieved. It is delighted to have been part of Parliament Week and is now looking forward to seeing the portraits exhibition on display at the Palace of Westminster to mark International Women’s Day and also delivering the future series of events and activities for Leeds schools and citizens, in partnership with Leeds City Council.”

Leeds City Council, is a key supporter of the Connecting Enterprising Women and Girls programme, and is organising a celebration event to take place on Friday 4 April to mark International Women’s Day 2014 which will coincide with the return to Leeds of the photographic exhibition.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services at Leeds City Council said:

“This exhibition is a fantastic celebration of what girls and women can achieve. By exhibiting these portraits at the heart of Government we can demonstrate the strength and passion to success which drives many Yorkshire women.

“By opening up opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial skills whilst still at school, the young women involved with the Connecting Girls project will be able to realise their own potential and secure a successful future in their chosen careers.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:

“Connecting Enterprising Women does some amazing work with women and girls across the city and we are only too happy to be supporting them with the Connecting Girls programme.

“These young people are the future of our city and it is only through programmes like this which help raise aspiration and attainment that Leeds will continue to thrive and succeed.

“Being part of this exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for the young students from east Leeds, and to be displayed alongside some of Yorkshire’s most inspiring women is a testament to the dedication they have shown as part of the Connecting Girls project.”


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Ben Jones

Press Officer | Communications | University of Leeds

T: +44 (0)113 34 38059

E: B.P.Jones@leeds.ac.uk