Those women have been aided to explore enterprise, whilst the Women’s Organisation has contributed to a national framework of women’s entrepreneurship, and been invited to other European countries to influence economic policy.
CEO Maggie O’Carroll reflects: “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. We knew we needed to do something.
“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.”
A seed of passion from founder Maggie O’Carroll became a catalyst for what is now referred to as the largest provider of women’s enterprise support globally, according to the Diana Project. The firm remains a non-profit business.
In 20 years the Women’s Organisation has:
Max Steinberg, chief executive of Liverpool Vision said: “An organisation that promotes and supports the development of women in business is not unique to Liverpool – most major cities will have some group or organisation that promotes women’s business through networking, mentoring, business support or a combination of all of these things.
“However what is unique to Liverpool is the level of commitment and innovation which the Women’s Organisation has demonstrated consistently over its 20-year life span. Now internationally renowned, the Women’s Organisation nevertheless remains true to its founding principle of delivering tangible results by being accessible to all women, regardless of their social or economic standing.”
Lisa McMullan, who has worked with and for the organisation throughout the 20 years, said: “In the early days we spent enormous amounts of our time in rooms of people explaining why there is a need for what we do.
“Now it is great to see that it is more widely understood that if you want to offer quality services around enterprise and employment that it is vital to have services that are accessible to women of all backgrounds.”
The Women’s Organisation are hoping to reach 20,000 twitter followers by the end of the year to spread the message of gender equality, follow @TheWomensOrg and tweet #WOWeAre20 for stats and memories of 20 years of fighting for equality. Frank McKenna, chairman of Downtown in Business added: “The Women’s Organisation have helped (and persuaded) enormously in recent years in the campaigning and advocacy work our organisation has undertaken on the female enterprise agenda. Happy twentieth anniversary. Here’s to the next twenty!” For more stories of local business success, sign up for our BQ Breakfast.
Frank McKenna, chairman of Downtown in Business added: “The Women’s Organisation have helped (and persuaded) enormously in recent years in the campaigning and advocacy work our organisation has undertaken on the female enterprise agenda. Happy twentieth anniversary. Here’s to the next twenty!”
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