PUBLISHED: 19:54 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 19:54 13 November 2018
Today we can finally reveal the names of the people selected to be on our first ever Inspiring Women of Suffolk list.
It’s a list full of diversity – of women from many different backgrounds and sectors who have achieved extraordinary things.
We launched this project earlier this year, to honour the numerous inspirational women of today.
It culminated with a celebratory lunch at Milsoms, Kesgrave Hall yesterday.
Most of our 100 or so women were there, and a special publication profiling every person was also made available for the first time. This can be seen on our website and details will be in the November edition of the EADT’s Business East Monthly magazine.
Among the guest speakers were two women on the list.
Suffolk athlete and Olympic medallist, javelin thrower Goldie Sayers, spoke of her inspirational journey from first learning how to throw the javelin in Newmarket to being a three-time Olympian and British record holder.
And Suffolk County Council chief executive Nicola Beach, a strong advocate of women’s groups and diversity in the workplace, told of the importance of people in an organisation – and how much there is to be proud of in the county.
Our project was launched to coincide with the 100th anniversary since some women gained the right to vote.
EADT and Ipswich Star editor-in-chief Brad Jones said: “At the start of this year we starting planning some content looking at what life is like for women and girls in Suffolk in 2018, and reflecting on how far along the road to true equality we’ve really come.
“As part of this, we felt it was vital to tell the stories of some of Suffolk’s most inspirational women – and that’s where our problem started. As we began suggesting names, there were so many. It became a seemingly impossible task to narrow it down to a publishable number.
“We decided to make it a special project, and open it up to public nominations.”
There were many exceptional nominations, and a panel met in the summer to narrow it down to a list of around 100.
The final list has people from the worlds of business, arts, culture, sport, the public sector, the third sector and those who have performed distinguished public service.
There were many exceptional women who didn’t make the list this time but would have been deserving entries – though the project will be repeated in the future.
Brad said: “We had to frequently challenge ourselves over what makes somebody truly inspirational.
“There wasn’t a single, simple answer to that, but there were recurring traits – people who had achieved extraordinary things in their careers, challenged the establishment and a male dominated system, broken new ground and overcome barriers.
“Ultimately, I think everybody on our list has a hugely positive effect on others – in particular, when it comes to inspiring future generations.”
READ MORE: Meet 100 of Suffolk’s most inspirational women
In doing this project, we are also remembering the achievements of those who have gone before, and the strong Suffolk links to the movement for equal rights for women.
Pioneering suffragist Millicent Fawcett, born in Aldeburgh, was one of the most influential feminists of her time and her campaigning helped change the course of history.
Her sister Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, became the first female mayor and doctor in Britain – overcoming opposition from the establishment in the process.
Our event was held in partnership with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by EDF, Gotelee Solicitors, Larking Gowen accountants, Barclays Corporate and Milsoms Kesgrave Hall.