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Celebrating International Women's Day

International Womens Day 07/03/2023

Hear from Cheshire and Warrington women

Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.

Celebrate women's achievements. Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity.

The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren't enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.

Cheshire and Warrington women share why the above is important to them, what their organisation is doing to embrace equity and who they think truly embraces equity.



Melissa Crellin

Melissa Crellin, Strategy and Public Affairs Director, Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership


"We have been supporting Cheshire and Warrington Leaders’ Board to develop a Fair Employment Charter, which is now going out to consultation.  The idea of the charter is to encourage employers to make commitments to fair employment such as embedding equality and diversity and paying a living wage. This would have the effect of raising employment standards, including encouraging inclusive recruitment and more flexibility in where, when and how people work, and supporting a diverse talent pipeline, all of which would help women to get into employment and rise up the career ladder."

Julie Dalton

Julie Dalton, Managing Director, Gulliver's Theme Parks Resorts


"As the leader of a network of theme parks across the UK, employing more than a thousand staff, I know first-hand the importance of creating a workplace where women can thrive. It’s vital that women have equal opportunities, equal pay, and the platform to share their ideas and views alongside their male counterparts.

We are a family-orientated employer offering flexible working and a clear progression plan for those who want to develop a career. Three of our four resort managers are women who’ve worked with Gulliver’s for many years and are a vital part of our leadership team."

Find out more about Gulliver's Theme Parks here

Gilly Conway

Gilly Conway, Chair, Citizens Advice Cheshire West



"At Citizens Advice Cheshire West, the wellbeing of our staff and volunteers is at the heart of how we help our people be successful at work. Our policies are designed to protect and support our people, but what’s really important for achieving equity is how we regard everyone as a unique individual. We want an environment where people feel confident to discuss matters that affect them and know that there are a range of options we can adapt to suit different circumstances.

On a personal note, based on my own experiences throughout my career, I know there is still much to do in our society for women to feel safe, confident, and valued. I am incredibly proud to be a part of this charity where we wholeheartedly believe that equity is essential for individuals to thrive."

Read more from Gilly here

Find out more about Citizens Advice Cheshire West here.

Kim Meadows, Senior Business Manager, Natwest Group



"For me equality means giving both men and women the support they need to further their careers.

This may look very different for some people than it does others.

At NatWest/RBS I find that women are offered the support that they may need around their work life balance to ensure that they feel confident enough to be able to take the next step in their career without worrying that their family may lose out."

Find out more about the Natwest Group here.

Helen Dean

Helen Dean, Head of Marketing at Chester Zoo


"It’s really important that women continue to represent and be elevated within the creative industry. We are all shaped by our experiences in life, and women have a unique take on things that men don’t. From the complexities of motherhood to the hormones that hit every part of our lives from puberty to menopause. Because we (women) bring these lived diverse life experiences to the table as creative marketeers, we can produce work that feeds in female influences and insights - whether that’s a reference to breastfeeding at 2am or a humorous hot flush in the most awkward of circumstances. These insights help us connect more effectively with female target audiences, creating better empathy and understanding of our creative marketing campaigns. So, it matters that women have a place at the table when it comes to creative and marketing because it’s women who can create work with a broader and more relevant impact on society, connect more strongly with female target audiences, and ultimately help drive commercial success."

Find out more about Chester Zoo here.

Helen Tandy

Helen Tandy, Director and Founder, Eco Communities


"When it comes to Climate Change women are disproportionately affected yet often contribute the least to the problem. In developing countries that are those worse effected by the effects of climate change women are the primary gatherers of water, food, and fuel, and they dominate subsistence farming, caregiving, and cleaning. All research shows that Women are more likely to make changes to reduce the impact they have on the planet.

Helen C and I are part of tiny organisation Eco Communities, a not for profit with no paid staff.  We both work full time and do this in our spare time because we have children and worry about the future, we are leaving them, and the impact climate change is having around the world. Our biggest project is Sustainable Cheshire which looks at areas such as reducing single use plastic and switching to reusables, encouraging the community to pick litter to keep it from our Oceans and calculating our Carbon Footprint and general sustainable living practices which can help reduce the impacts of climate change here in Cheshire. Our mission is ‘Let's Build a More Sustainable Future Together’ We need even more women talking about the impact of climate change and many more in senior decision making roles around the world…."

Find out more about Eco Communities here.

Leanne Walker

Leanne Walker, Senior Research Scientist, Rawwater



“Equality and diversity are part of everyday life at Rawwater. Everyone at the company is well supported and encouraged to progress in their career. For example, I am currently being sponsored to complete a PhD in Geomicrobiology.”

Find out more about Rawwater here.

Kim Wagstaff

Kim Wagstaff, Operations Manager, WebTicketManager


"As the Operations Manager of a software organisation, I am extremely fortunate to work alongside some of the most specialised women in their fields. 

WebTicketManager have a wealth of female influence entwined throughout their infrastructure. My personal thirst for knowledge has only been met with encouragement over the eight years I have worked for the company. Growth within the business has enabled me to be a key decision maker, being encouraged in completion of accreditations to grow my own technical knowledge. 


It’s great to see more and more women coming into technical roles and specialising within the sector. 


WebTicketManager provide online ticketing software and solutions to attractions, venues, festivals and events. As a result of working for WebTicketManager I have also noticed an increase in organisations being created by or run by women.


I hope to continue to see more and more women coming into the technical sector and look forward to working alongside some of these women in the future."

Find out more about Web Ticket Manager here.


Isabel Robertson

Isabel Robertson, One of the Women of Chester and Manager of Chester Visitor Information Centre


"The Women of Chester tour allows the voices and stories of inspirational women to be heard, to be remembered and to be thanked for their part in shaping the City and History of Chester. A good example is the story of Aethelflaed the Lady of the Mercians who re-fortified Chester in 907AD to be able to repulse the Viking threat . Aethelflaed was the daughter of Alfred the Great and achieved so much yet her story is not widely known. On our tour we try and show that her story is as inspirational and as relevant now as it was in the 10th Century."

Find out more about The Women of Chester Tour here.


Jane Burns, Executive Director of Corporate Services,
Cheshire East Council



“My organisation is part and parcel of the everyday life of Cheshire East residents. We employ women in a wide range of roles and they make a positive difference in our borough. This is a place where women can learn, aspire and support each other. We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and create opportunities for colleagues to thrive. I am inspired everyday by women, particularly those who challenge the status quo, stand up for their beliefs and encourage us to be ourselves.”

Find out more about Cheshire East Council here.

Samantha Munro

Samantha Munro, Designer,
Thrive Creative



“Everyone's ideas are welcomed at Thrive, and by doing so, it allows us to develop strong creative concepts and designs. I have never encountered any form of inequality with other employees whilst working here, everyone is equally respected. And that’s refreshing, because for a long time Advertising has been perceived as a male dominated industry, especially at a senior level. I've worked on large-scale projects and had the same opportunities as everyone in the creative team, and have been encouraged to make the best use of my experience abilities.”

Find out more from Thrive Creative here.


Naomi Watts-Kitto

Naomi Watts-Kitto, Historical Building Conservator, Chester Cathedral


"Throughout history, women have been leaders and innovators in untraditional fields, however men often took credit for their ideas or women worked under pseudonyms. It’s important for the younger generation of women to step into roles that are more associated with the opposite sex. I want to encourage women to not be intimidated by careers that are often seen as male-dominated or feel bound by society’s limitations and stereotypes. We are living in 2023, no job is impossible, and no one should have to feel limited by their gender or societal expectations anymore."

Find out more about Chester Cathedral Works Department here.




Lucie Hyde

Lucie Hyde, Managing Director, LNH Transport Ltd


"As a business owner, wife and mother myself, building workplaces where women can thrive is essential for any successful business.

Women are a crucial element of the workplace and the only way to keep talented women in your organisation is to provide them with a workplace that works for them: equal pay, career opportunities, training and flexibility. Women need to be given the opportunity to receive promotions and develop their leadership skills, coupled with the resources and support system necessary to achieve this success.

Another important element for many women like myself is finding a job that connects to their values and purpose, while ensuring they have a solid work-life balance. The onus, therefore, is on business leaders to help their employees find meaningfulness and enjoyment in their work. Take the time to learn about their personal values, passions, strengths, and life goals and brainstorm ways to integrate these things into their career. 

Fundamentally, it's about supporting all employees. Men and women each have different skills to bring to the table and it’s about bringing the best out in all your employees, offering support, guidance and opportunities to thrive within the business."

Find out more about LNH Transport Ltd.


Hayley Owen

Hayley Owen, Head of Economic Growth, Cheshire West and Chester Council



"I am passionate about supporting and building a workforce where women are able to thrive. I have been fortunate to work with many inspirational and supportive women Leaders and I believe we play a huge role in leading, challenging and developing support for women around us to meet and exceed their potential in the workplace."

Find out more about Cheshire West and Chester Council.