An empowering atmosphere filled the Museum of Making in Derby today as students from The Two Counties Trust’s nine secondary schools gathered to celebrate International Women’s Day.

One of the many highlights of the event was the captivating talk by Professor Suzie Imber, whose remarkable accomplishments in space science and mountaineering made her an inspiration for all in the room. Suzie shared her journey, encouraging everyone to embrace opportunities even those which initially feel daunting. Afterwards Suzie was inundated from a long queue of students, keen for her advice and thoughts on a range of topics.

Following Professor Suzie’s talk, students had the privilege of speaking with influential business leaders from the East Midlands. Representatives from well-known organisations such as Henry Brothers, Willmott Dixon, the NHS, Derby Theatre, the British Army as well as Amanda Solloway MP, facilitated insightful discussions on various topics, providing students with valuable perspectives on success, leadership as well as personal stories and anecdotes.

The day continued with a workshop led by Emma Howard, Headteacher of Swanwick Hall School, focusing on female empowerment. The session got everyone involved in meaningful conversations and engaging activities encouraging all attendees to recognise their strengths, aspirations and how they can work towards true equality.

The day culminated in a celebration of each other’s achievements and the power of women supporting each other. In a heart-warming display of camaraderie, students shared their ‘authentic selves’ to applause and cheers from their peers.

Alyssia M, student at Manor Academy,

“During today’s event I felt hugely empowered by the speakers, they showed us that you don’t need to feel embarrassed by your opinions and to stand up for what you believe in. I was also shown the importance of equality for all genders and had the chance to speak to many different women who helped us realise that nothing is meant for one gender and anything is possible.”

Emma Howard, Headteacher of Swanwick Hall School,

“Today is a great example of what The Two Counties Trust is all about. It was a privilege to lead the afternoon workshop and hear such authentic comments from the students and staff alike. Everybody championed each other and the sense of ‘female empowerment’ was palpable across the room. It was inspiring to see how the young people took onboard the key messages and showed how they will ensure true equality is possible for their generation.”

Professor Suzie Imber, 

“It was an honour to speak and connect with students at The Two Counties Trust’s International Women’s Day event. Their enthusiasm and insightful questions left me feeling inspired. It was great to have the opportunity to speak to so many young people about my own journey, hoping to encourage them to persevere through any challenges they may face.”