Chief executive of the Women’s Organisation, Maggie O’Carroll, has been honoured for her work around women’s empowerment with a lifetime achievement award at this year’s Merseyside Women of the Year (MWOTY) Awards.

The awards ceremony, now in its eleventh year, aims to reward women who would not ordinarily be in the spotlight – women who represent social impact, inclusion and community.

MWOTY 2022, which was hosted by Liverpool comedienne, singer and actor, Pauline Daniels, enjoyed a return for its first in-person awards ceremony since 2019 and celebrated a host of courageous and inspirational women. This year, Jubeda Khatun, founder and director of BlackFest won Woman of the Year.

Jubeda launched BlackFest – a grassroots Black Arts festival – in 2018.

The Women’s Organisation was founded over 25 years ago and has supported thousands of women in the North West to assess their skills, test the viability of an idea, grow in confidence and become economically empowered.

Maggie was part of a small team who established the business in 1996. This was a time when gender inequality within employment and enterprise in the region was an inherent and systemic problem.

Lifetime achievement recognition for The Women’s Organisation’s Maggie O’Carroll

She made it her personal obligation to inspire, empower and enable as many women as possible to become economically active. Today, Maggie is responsible for the overall strategic development of a business that employs more than 55 people and has helped more than 70,000 women into employment and enterprise.

Fiona Parry from sponsors Hill Dickinson presented Maggie’s award. She said: “It is our pleasure to have presented Maggie O’Carroll with the prestigious lifetime award. Maggie is passionate about empowering women in business, and this is something that really resonates with us at Hill Dickinson.”

On winning her award, Maggie said: “I am both surprised and delighted – if a little embarrassed – to pick up a lifetime achievement award. It goes without saying that this award is due recognition for our entire team here at The Women’s Organisation, without whom, this journey would simply not have been possible.

“We marked our 25th year in business during lockdown – so this award somehow feels timely. It is a poignant reminder of all we have achieved, and of how far we have come as an organisation – and of that I am immensely proud. To have been able to reach and help so many women over the years is truly humbling.

“I’d like to thank Ellie and the MWOTY team for giving us the opportunity to celebrate our successes, something we, like so many others, don’t do enough.

“But we are not done yet. For us, lockdown presented a period of transformation – like it did for so many businesses. It gave us an opportunity to regroup, re-energise and re-focus and I’m incredibly positive about the future.”

MWOTY founding director, Ellie Kerr, said: “It’s been absolutely glorious to be back and celebrating the amazing women in our region. The emotion and excitement in the room was just incredible.

“I would like to congratulate all of our category winners and finalists. Each and every one of them epitomises the spirit of MWOTY and make our home region the incredibly special place that it is.”

You can see the full list of this year’s MWOTY Awards winners here.