Looking For Inspiration? Here Are Three Top British Women In Industry
Women’s rights in the UK have come on leaps and bounds over the years. As the BBC reports, just a century or two ago women’s work was almost always low-paid and menial, with many women unable to rise above the level of domestic servant when it came to their professional life. Things have moved on substantially since then: legal provisions like the Equality Act 2010 mean that discrimination is now mostly outlawed, for example, while the 20th century saw some women enjoy a meteoric rise to the very tops of companies.
But total equality still isn’t here. As The Daily Telegraph reports, even by 2016 there were only seven women at the top of Britain’s FTSE 100 companies – and this imbalance in the workplace is something that needs to change. Role models, of course, are some of the best drivers of progress – so with that in mind, here are three of the most inspirational women in British business both past and present.
Dame Stephanie Shirley
As one of the early pioneers of women in the IT industry, Dame Stephanie Shirley is a leading British businesswoman. Her software company, Freelance Programmers, was unusual in the 1960s because it had a largely female workforce – some of whom owned shares in the company too. As well as contributing to the future of the European tech space, Dame Stephanie also looked after her son (who experienced autism) while she built her business, and she has since worked in a number of philanthropic roles.
As founder of High Street fashion store LK Bennett, Linda Bennett has a proud history of pioneering for women. She set up her first stylish shop in 1990 in Wimbledon, but has since gone from strength to strength in her own business career. Even though she sold her business to a private equity firm, she has since bought them out – proving that women in business can always fight back and get their rewards.
Moving up to the present day, it’s clear that Britain’s heritage of bold businesswomen who drive forward change has persisted. Modern women like Karren Brady embody the best of today’s gender diverse business world: she has served in a number of business roles over the years, including as Chief Executive of the football club Birmingham City. She’s also featured on TV show The Apprentice, where she’s continued to raise the profile of British businesswomen.
There’s no shortage of inspirational British women on the business scene. There are those who have shown leadership in years gone by, and also those who are working hard at the top in the present day. Whatever sector you’re in, there are plenty of amazing women who can provide a source of inspiration for those looking to enter industry.