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Women of Sheffield Awards

Last Thursday, the search for Sheffield’s stand-out women came to a close with the first ever Women of Sheffield awards. Launched by The Star newspaper in a bid to ‘shine a light on some of the many thousands of Sheffield women who have done incredible things’, Sheffield Girls’ is honoured to be a part of the unique initiative by sponsoring the Mary Ann Rawson Award for Education.

The Star have been calling for nominations for inspirational women across Sheffield since 21st January 2019, culminating in the presentation of the awards the day before International Women’s Day at Glide in Attercliffe. It was timed to link in with a special edition of The Star on March 8th, on International Women’s Day, that was delivered into Sheffield schools to show young girls what they can achieve and aspire to.

The event centred around 12 awards honouring women from all backgrounds, neighbourhoods, expertise and ages. According to The Star’s initial article, each of these awards is named after an ‘impressive figure of their field to not only celebrate the great faces of the past as well as the future.’

The awards were designed to cover every aspect of life. Some of the categories include Health, Entrepreneurship, Charity, Sport, and Creativity, in addition to our sponsored award honouring the founder of Wincobank School, Mary Ann Rawson, which aimed to highlight the teachers and education enthusiasts of Sheffield following in her footsteps.

The super winner of the Mary Ann Rawson Award is Children’s University Project Manager for Sheffield Hallam University, Katie Hamshaw, who said, “I want to see more commitment to women in education in the future because they play such a vital role - there are so many amazing women doing so many amazing things. I know in my work I rely on so many women to do my job. I would love to see more recognition for women and more appreciation of the work that they do.”

Katie has brought the Sheffield Children’s University from a small pilot in 2005 to the flagship project with 73 schools subscribing and which has had a positive impact on attainment, self-confidence and aspirations of the children who have taken part. The university benefits more than 40,000 children in the city.

The project rewards children with one credit for each hour that they spend learning something of their choice in their own time. Their participation is recorded throughout their school life and they receive an updated record with each certificate.

Mrs White, Deputy Head at Sheffield Girls’, presented the accolade to Katie. Jayne Biggs and Elizabeth Raynor also received winners certificates.

Mrs White said: “This was the first ever Women of Sheffield Awards and it brought together women from all walks of life for one huge celebration of their success, determination and bravery. The stories were nothing short of amazing, inspirational and often emotional.

“We saw how women have achieved success, many against all odds, through dedication and determination. Many have fought against illness, abuse, barriers, tough times and discrimination to survive, thrive and lead.

“There are a host of role models here that show, and reinforce our work at school, that whatever your background, skills or troubles, you can be empowered and develop your talents and achieve what you want.

“I am confident we will see these awards return and grow and help inspire, just like our school’s approach, opportunities for every girl to achieve great things.”

Head Mrs Gunson commented, “We are thrilled to be backing these awards and to help showcase how women across a variety of sectors have achieved success, some against all odds, through dedication and determination. These female trailblazers have broken glass ceilings, worked hard to remove barriers for other women, fought through incredibly tough times and are disrupting established industry norms through innovation.

“We hope the stories behind the awards will help inspire the next generation, fuel entrepreneurial passion and galvanise women, in whatever sector, to be a force for change.

“We are confident these awards will grow in influence, and impact, and lead the way in helping to create, just like our school’s approach, opportunities for every girl to achieve great things.”

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