Successful and enterprising women celebrated at Leeds event

Women and girls from across Leeds are being invited to inspire change at a special event at Leeds Civic Hall this week.

Over 150 inspirational women will be attending the event on Friday 4 April, which is being hosted by Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader Leeds City Council and Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, to celebrate the return to Leeds of an exhibition of photographs and stories of enterprising women and girls from Yorkshire. The exhibition, which has been on display at Westminster since late February includes photographs of students from east Leeds schools, some of which will be present on Friday.

The return of the exhibition has inspired the theme for this week’s conference: inspiring change and making Leeds the best city for women.

Keynote speakers at the event will be award-winning inventor, Emily Cummins whose sustainable fridge, which runs on dirty water, has changed people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest countries. Emily will be joined by Danni Hewson who is BBC Look North’s business correspondent and was named the Yorkshire and Humber Business Journalist of the Year at last year’s O2 media awards.

The guests will also be able to take part in a number of interactive workshops including: the stars of Channel 4’s Big Ballet – featuring Leeds City Council employee Sarah Peart - addressing inclusivity and body image; Leeds based Olympic Team GB women divers, Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling; Director of the Black Health Initiative Heather Nelson; as well as sessions on coaching, living libraries and social media. The interactive conference will also ask the invited guests to consider ‘what can we do to make Leeds the best city for women?’

The guests will also be able to view a selection of the portraits alongside the women and girls who are featured in the exhibition. The exhibition will be curated by Ruth Dass, Director of Connecting Enterprising Women.

The programme which developed the exhibition, The Connecting Girls Programme, is run in partnership by Leeds City Council and not-for-profit organisation, Connecting Enterprising Women (CEW). The programme addresses a gap with regards to girls from local communities having opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial skills whilst still in education. They receive support from CEW mentors.

At the conference the guests will also be shown an interview with Rachel Reeves MP carried out by two schoolgirls from Castleton Primary school. Ashanti Carlton and Kaycee Barwell tried their hand at being reporters for the day by quizzing the city’s first female MP for 40 years. The girls wrote their own questions, which were themed around entrepreneurship and inspiring women and girls.

Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council said:

“I am very proud to be hosting this fantastic event to celebrate the remarkable achievements and contribution women make to our city. This will be an extremely inspirational day so it is very important that we are able to share this with the young women who took part in the Connecting Enterprising Girls portrait exhibition.

“The women attending this event come from all walks of life, but the one thing they have in common is that they are inspirational and amazing role models.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:

"We have some of the most inspirational stories to tell about the achievements of women and girls in Leeds and this conference will look at how we celebrate those successes throughout the year."

Members of the media are invited to attend the event between 10am and 2pm on Friday 4 April. A surpise (and very visual) element has been planned for 1.50pm. Please contact Leeds City Council press office to arrange attendance – 0113 2474713.


For media enquiries, please contact:

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

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk