A BARRY woman and three Penarth women are among the finalists in the Chwarae Teg Womenspire Awards 2021.
The awards celebrate women and recognise achievements made across all aspects of life, from personal successes to outstanding contributions. The event celebrates and showcases these remarkable accomplishments from across Wales, inspiring future generations.
Finalists include community champions, sports women, those advancing gender equality, remarkable learners, and inspiring leaders.
Karen Harvey–Cooke, from Barry, is one of three finalists for the ‘board member’ award.
Ms Harvey-Cooke sits on the board for Skills and Volunteering Cymru bringing her knowledge of equality, diversity and inclusion to assess what they are doing and what more they can do.
Her main goal is to make sure people have a space where they can be themselves and feel empowered. An ally for trans rights Karen is the chair of the staff LGBT network at Cardiff University; the role “that makes my eyes shine”.
Ms Harvey-Cooke also looks after the community articles in an online magazine, LGBTQymru.
Two Penarth women are among the four finalists for the ‘sports’ category.
Former hockey player Beth Fisher presents sports for ITV as well as actively campaigning for equality and diversity.
After realising she was “different” in school, Beth noticed sexism and a lack of diversity from a very young age in sport. After she left her hockey career, Beth became a freelance reporter before getting a job at ITV.
Passionate about equality for all Beth is currently working tirelessly with ITV to report on the Olympics, highlighting those lesser told stories, especially of women from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities.
Natalie Morgan, from Penarth, moved back to Wales to pursue a career in sport and is a coach at Welsh Gymnastics.
She has a passion to make a difference to people from all backgrounds and ages and was involved in a project to engage young girls and women from the Black and Minority Ethnic community in gymnastics.
Starting with 11 girls, all new to gymnastics, it quickly grew to more than 130 girls with 10 adult volunteers becoming qualified coaches who now run the club. The project exceeded all expectations and is recognised as the most successful female only BME project in Wales.
Meanwhile, Gomathi Shivakumar is a finalist in the ‘learner’ category.
She studied computing at university in India, and was the first person in her home town to have a computing degree, but was unable to use it due to family commitments.
Ms Shivakumar and her family moved to the UK in 2002, and 25 years after obtaining her degree, she looked to get a job. With no work experience she found this difficult until she applied to the DVLA where she found she could undertake training at the same time as working.
Ms Shivakumar passed with distinction and even won an award for best project on her course. She currently has three degrees and is always studying further.
To read the full list of finalists visit bit.ly/womenspirefinalists2021
The online awards – hosted by Andrea Byrne and Elin Pavli-Hinde – will take place from 7pm on Thursday, September 30, and will stream across ITV Cymru Wales’ Facebook Live and Twitter.
Chief Executive at Chwarae Teg, Cerys Furlong, said: “Womenspire is an awards ceremony like no other. Finalists come from all walks of life across Wales but have something very much in common – they have all gone above and beyond to make a real positive difference to their own lives and the lives of others.
“We want to shine a light on their remarkable accomplishments, as they can so often go unnoticed. At Chwarae Teg we want to applaud what they’ve done and hold them up as role models.
“Our finalists will be joining us with family and friends from their own homes, and we will be getting them involved and encouraging our virtual audience to join in too. We’ll also be highlighting organisations working towards making gender equality a reality in Wales.”
Tickets for Womenspire 2021 can be booked for free, with a donate option, at buff.ly/3qV1Zrr