The Women’s Organisation supports women’s economic development through offering enterprise and employment services that are gender focused.


From personal development, to starting and growing a sustainable business, over the last 24 years The Women’s Organisation has supported over 70,000 women in the North West to assess their skills, test the viability of an idea, grow their confidence, and become economically empowered.


Chief executive, Maggie O’Carroll, says: “International Women’s Day 2022, for me, is particularly poignant.


“The social and economic impact of the pandemic has unarguably presented a pause in terms of progress on gender equality – perhaps even a U-turn.


“COVID-19 has presented new and unprecedented challenges for women in terms of balancing additional care and their careers, and those sectors in which women are predominant have been hit the hardest by furlough, cuts and ultimately redundancy.


“Lat year, we saw the gender pay gap widen for the first time since 2017 – experts predict the time needed to close the global gender gap has increased by a generation. And pre-existing social disparities have been exacerbated too, with worrying spikes in domestic violence and threats to women’s personal safety.


“International Women’s Day calls for us to imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable and inclusive. And in so many ways, certainly in the last two years, this has felt almost impossible to do.


“But what the last two years has also shown us, perhaps clearer than ever, is that women are resilient. Women are fearless. Women are unsurmountable. And women are enterprising.


“Findings from the Rose Review, published last week, reveal that more women than ever are starting new businesses. And indeed, throughout lockdown, we saw our enquiries at The Women’s Organisation almost treble – a heartening sign that women weren’t about to just accept the hand they’d been dealt.


“The growth in women-owned and all women-run businesses outstripped growth in male-led firms for the first time, and this is not by accident. It is a clear indication of women taking charge. Women creating better futures for themselves and for all women.


“The first International Women’s Day was in 1909. And now, 113 years on, women still spend their entire lives breaking socio norms, because ultimately and unfortunately , many challenges and obstacles for women still exist.


“However, inspirational women from across the social, political and business spectrum, too many to count, are working to smash the barriers of bias and transform our society every minute of every day – and they do so unphased, unequivocally, and often unintentionally – it’s almost written into our DNA.


“So, let us take International Women’s Day as a moment of positive pause after two years of turmoil and momentous change. Let’s take a breath and then continue to break the bias in our workplaces and in our communities as we forge ahead in our collective pursuit for an equal, fair and sustainable future.”