Happy International Women’s Day: the day on the calendar we globally appreciate what local women do.
As great as this day is, we put events like this under the ‘bathing’ category; once in a while is enough but we recommend doing it daily. Ideally, we’d live in a world where we didn’t need a ‘International Women’s Day’, but we don’t. For those asking why such a day is needed – it is needed for the women earning less in offices doing the same job, for the women never promoted despite deserving it and the women who aren’t recognised or valued despite their hard work. Yes all of these things can happen to anyone in this life but it’s a lot more likely if you happen to be female. With heartbreaking figure after heartbreaking figure, we must remember there are people doing all they can to break the mould and this brings us rather nicely onto The Women’s Organisation.
In the last 20 years The Women’s Organisation have offered support to over 50,000 local women. All milestones in our life make us reflect and the changing landscape in terms of gender equality and women’s enterprise over the last two decade is nothing short of admirable. The Women’s Organisation’s humble beginnings span back to 1996, where they launched ‘Train 2000 Ltd’ and they’ve somewhat surpassed their namesake by 48000. From inception the organisation was keen to see change not only locally, but on an international scale. Just 2 years in and Train 2000 (as it was then) was recognised for best practice in enterprise services and was presented with a Eurocities award. Some years on they now call 54 St James Street home, a beautiful building that is occupied by lots of local businesses (including us!).
We caught up with CEO Maggie O’Carroll on the inspiration for her journey:
“When I moved to Liverpool the level of unemployment amongst women was shocking. There was next to no childcare provision locally and women were definitely not being taken seriously as potential entrepreneurs. Now we are seeing far more women in employment and enterprise. Yes we still face challenges of women being underemployed, but the culture is shifting and we can now see more women as business owners and employers.”
Maggie herself is a testament to the impact Train 2000 has had admitting “when we started I didn’t even know how to turn on a computer” and now she is running an award winning organisation that is the largest developer and deliverer of tailored support for women in the UK, from a £5.3mil centre for women’s economic development that employs more than 25 staff. Maggie notes that the beautiful building at 54 St James Street is a far cry from Train 2000’s first office in 1996 that had no window and was smaller than the organisation’s current post room. In the last 20 years they’ve helped establish over 3000 new businesses and bridged the unwarranted equality gap between men and women.
A truly remarkable story of how passion can get you anywhere and how you don’t have to be big to make a big difference. They’re hosting a special celebration of pioneering women tonight, details are here. Think you could use their expertise? Get in touch 0151 706 8111 or shoot them an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.