#EightWomen Awards 2013
In September 2013 we were sent 8 African-American Women Who Changed the World via social media with the question “Which 8 women of colour do you think have changed the UK?” We posed the question to our twitter followers and the #EightWomen awards were born. Over a month we asked people to vote for one of:
134 Notable Women of Colour, all successful in their fields, all have made a difference – but who would you vote has changed the U.K?
The #EightWomen were revealed at the Media Diversified launch event in November 2013.
Charmaine Simpson (Acceptance speech)
In 2008 Charmaine Simpson with her husband Mark launched Black History Studies an organisation which aims to educate the community in the UK on black history and culture. Charmaine’s passion for black history has led the organisation to create the ‘Before the Slave Trade website, self published books on this topic and to launch courses such as ‘Introduction to black studies.’ All of these give the British community an opportunity to learn more about black history. In October 2013 Black History Studies received the BEFFTA Excellence Award for outstanding contribution to the community. Charmaine is also known for her work with disaffected youth in London and has been involved in the public sector at local and national level.
Rania Khan (Acceptance Speech)
Independent Politician, Councillor for Bromley by Bow and member of the Cabinet for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for culture and regeneration are just some of Rania Khan’s achievements. Born in Libya and moving to the UK as a child, Rania became one of the first female and youngest councillors in the country. In 2012 she was listed as a finalist in the Young Councillor of the Year category for the Councillor Achievement Awards and has most recently led a campaign to change national legislation on lap dancing clubs by fighting for greater powers for councils to grant licences to sex establishments.
In 1993 Baroness Doreen Lawrence lost her son Stephen to a racist attack in South London. Following this she led a campaign to expose the failings of the Metropolitan police in investigating his murder while simultaneously uncovering the continued impact of racism in Britain. Her fight for justice for Stephen and other victims of racially motivated crimes led to a major judicial inquiry into Stephen’s death which concluded that the Metropolitan Police were institutionally racist.
This finding has contributed to the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 which placed a new duty on public bodies to eliminate discrimination and promote racial equality.
In 1998, recognising that Social immobility, a widening poverty gap and racism are still obstacles in British society; Baroness Lawrence launched the Stephen Lawrence Trust which aims to empower young people from black and minority ethnic groups through education. In 2003 she was awarded an OBE for services to community relations and in July 2013 it was announced that she was to be made a life peer in recognition of her work.
The first black female newsreader in Britain, Moira Stuart began her career as a production assistant in the BBC’s Radio’s Talks and Documentaries department in the 1970’s. She went on to become a BBC Radio 4 newsreader before working her way into Television, during an era where opportunities for people of colour were few. Having presented every type of BBC News bulletin, she has won awards including the “TV and Radio Industries Club Best Newscaster” and the “Women of Achievement Television Personality”; she was awarded an OBE in 2001 and is also known for her work with organisations such as BAFTA and Amnesty International.
Born in Sudan, Alek Wek fled the country due to civil war and later obtained refugee status in the UK. In 1995 she was discovered by a model scout and went on to take the fashion world by storm, breaking through the prejudices around black beauty. She has modelled for the most prestigious fashion houses in the world and became the first African cover star for Elle Magazine. Also renowned for her charity work, she is on an advisory board for UNHCR, speaks at schools to empower youth, has designed ethical jewellery and fundraises for a range of charities.
Since 2003 Shami Chakrabarti has been director of Liberty, an organisation which seeks to protect civil and human rights. Through her campaigning she has brought to the forefront issues related to the current human rights framework and challenged parliament, the media and society in general on this. Particularly prominent is her outspoken attacks on anti-terrorist measures, immigration legislation, Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) and Government approaches to race relations in the UK. She has often been dubbed the face of civil and human rights in the UK and has written and spoken on these matters on a National and International platform. She was awarded a CBE in 2007
Founder of Kids Company, Camila Batmanghelidjh is a renowned campaigner and social entrepreneur who has supported thousands of vulnerable children through emotional, and practical means. Of Iranian descent, Camila obtained political asylum in the UK following the Iranian revolution and trained in child psychology going on to start Kids Company in disused railway arches in South London. It is estimated that she and her team have raised over £50 million in funding to address issues including health, housing and youth justice. She has won several awards including Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur of the year 2005 and has been awarded a CBE.
Actress, author, broadcaster, businesswoman, campaigner and so much more, Floella Benjamin was an excellent athlete as a child and was once forbidden from taking home her running trophy because of her colour. Following this she fought her way into becoming a household name through various acting and presenting roles in theatre and on TV. Awarded an OBE and a peerage, she has sat on several boards including, Ofcom, the Millennium Commission and BAFTA. Her book ‘Coming to England’ which focuses upon her family’s move from Trinidad to the UK is now on the National Reading list for schools and universities.
A selection of bios from Britain’s Power List 2013