IWD is a time to celebrate the achievements of women throughout history and in our global society today. The day looks into how we can work together to create a more gender-equal workplace free of gender bias, stereotypes and discrimination, and how we can create a diverse and inclusive environment where our differences are celebrated and valued.
Since we launched Great British Speakers, it’s been really encouraging to see just our inspiring our female talents have been to our clients. From day one, we’ve been fortunate enough to offer some of the UK’s leading female speakers and hosts, including journalist Anna Richardson and TV cook Mary Berry. As we have grown, we’ve introduced more extraordinary female talents to our teams, such as presenter Sandi Toksvig and sports star Dame Kelly Holmes, plus many more making it very difficult to pick just a handful for our Top 15 International Women’s Day list. you see below. However, if you can’t find your perfect female speaker here, then contact us at Great British Speakers, and we’ll help find the perfect speaker for your International Women’s Day event
Anxiety, Post-Natal Depression Speaker and MIND Ambassador
Outside of her TV career as a presenter, behind closed doors, Anna Williamson suffered from an almost crippling battle with generalised anxiety disorder. During her own recovery, and upon speaking about her own experience, Anna realised there was still a huge stigma attached to poor mental health and well-being. As a result, she was determined to make a difference and joined the mental health charity MIND as an ambassador. She also qualified as a counsellor, life coach and Master NLP Practitioner.
She now contributes her expertise to TV shows, provides online videos for AOL, YouTube and The Telegraph, and is often booked to speak in schools, for businesses and at corporate events about her own mental health battles.
Find out more about Anna Williamson here
Female Barrister, Race Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Alexandra Wilson is a young female barrister, author and diversity campaigner. She first came into the public eye when she was mistaken for a defendant three times on the same day in court, rather than the lawyer. She has since made it her mission to challenge discrimination in the courtroom. She is the founder of Black Woman in Law, an organisation that now has over 500 members. She is also co-founder of One Case At A Time, an organisation that facilitates funding and representation in cases of injustice for black people in the UK.
Find out more about Alexandra Wilson here
Young Female Inventor, STEM Influencer
Andini Makosinski is a 25-year-old inventor, UN Youth ambassador, author and STEM influencer. Her first invention came aged 14 when she created the Hollow Flashlight, a torch that runs off the heat of the human hand rather than electricity. She would then go on to invent the eDrink which harvests the excess heat of the hot drink and converts it into electricity, providing an energy boost to a mobile phone.
Named in Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 list and in Time magazine’s 30 Under 30 World Changers, Ann Makosinski is passionate about promoting the STEM industry to young women.
Find out more about Ann Makosinski here
Former Northern Ireland First Minister, Women’s Rights in Public Life
Dame Arlene Foster was appointed First Minister in 2016, becoming the first female to hold the post. Throughout her time in the job, she experienced abuse both in person and online, and since leaving the position has made it her mission to improve women’s rights in public life. In her keynote speeches, she talks about how to be a woman in a man’s world and how anyone can achieve anything if determined enough, as well as exploring the harm that online social media abuse can have on young, vulnerable children, and women.
Find out more about Dame Arlene Foster here
Women’s Health GP and Menopause Expert
Dr Nighat Arif is a family GP who specialises in women’s health – such as menopause and ovarian cancer – and family planning, particularly in BAME communities. Fluent in English, Urdu and Punjabi, Dr Arif educates other medical staff on how to approach the unmet health needs of females from Asian backgrounds who are often less likely to discuss female health issues with healthcare professionals.
She is now often seen on television programmes providing information on healthcare topics such as organ donation and weight-loss jabs. After over 10 years in the healthcare industry, Dr Arif is now a popular speaker, focussing on promoting diversity and inclusion in medicine.
Find out more about Dr Nighat Arif here
Former National and League Footballer, Mental Health
With over 140 caps for England under her belt, and a former captain for both England’s Lionesses and Chelsea Ladies FC, Karen is a pro at overcoming obstacles and achieving her goals. Since retiring from the professional game in 2019, Karen is now a popular sports presenter and pundit.
Sadly, Karen has been subject to a high level of abuse online, both during her playing career and punditry. These messages are often sexist in nature and talk about rape and death threats. This extreme abuse led to Karen in a deep depression with thoughts of taking her own life. She has since used her own experiences to improve the sport for female footballers and to improve workspaces for all.
Find out more about Karen Carney here
Olympic Heptathlete, Sports Governance
Kelly Sotherton is a world-class athlete, winning three bronze Olympic medals, Commonwealth Gold and World Championship Bronze, alongside another 15 medals from World and European events. Since retiring from active sport, Kelly created the British Athletics’ Athletes Commission, which provides athletes with independent, confidential support and advice on mediation, integrity and health and wellbeing issues. She also spent five years as a member of the World Athletics’ Gender Leadership Taskforce, creating solutions and opportunities for gender equality in athletics.
Find out more about Kelly Sotherton here
Diversity, Inclusion and Equality in the Workplace
Leila is a passionate thought leader, with multiple businesses under her belt. In 2019, she founded DIAL, a global community for ‘Diverse Inclusive Aspirational Leaders’. She aims to foster a more open, diverse and inclusive society by helping businesses to think differently about their working culture and understanding of diversity. Whilst helping with the traditional thoughts of diversity – such as age, gender and race – Leila also promotes the importance of disability and neurodiversity.
Find out more about Leila McKenzie-Delis here
Female Entrepreneur, Sustainability, Mental Health
Liz Earle is a global brand pioneer, co-founder of the multi-award-winning eponymous beauty brand, writer, editor, podcaster and philanthropist.
Liz is passionate about the environment, and throughout her entire Liz Early Beauty Co journey, has stuck to her beliefs that ingredients should be responsibly sourced, and all product creation, packaging and promotion should be as sustainable as possible. She also edits a health and wellbeing magazine – Liz Earle Wellbeing – which provides advice on mental health, physical wellbeing, eating well, seasonal food, fitness, gut health and self-confidence.
Liz is an expert in her field and an inspirational female entrepreneurial speaker.
Find out more about Liz Earle here
Paralympic Gold Medallist, Founder of The Ability People
Liz Johnson has won an impressive 13 medals across the Paralympics, World Championships and European Championships, including 6 gold. Since retiring, she has become a popular contributor to sporting broadcasts for Channel 4 and the BBC. Building upon her business management degree, Liz co-founded The Ability People in 2018 after learning that the UK disability employment gap is 30%. The Ability People is the UK’s first disability-led recruitment business, with a focus on placing talented able-bodied and disabled jobseekers into the right jobs.
She is also a popular motivational and sports speaker, offering an insight into her competitive past, her broadcasting experience and her disability, aiming to inspire the next generation of sporting stars.
Find out more about Liz Johnson here
Business Owner, Recognising Domestic Violence
Liz McKeon is the founder of the International Salon Business School and an ambassador for Shear Haven anti-domestic violence salon training, a programme designed to help stylists recognise the signs of domestic violence and successfully navigate conversations with clients who may be in danger. Liz and Shear Heaven’s aim is to train as many salons as possible to recognise the signs of domestic violence and to equip them with the skills to help both men and women who are in domestic violent relationships get to safety.
Find out more about Liz McKeon here
Human Trafficking Survivor, Mental Health and Resilience
Lurata Lyon was a victim of human trafficking and organ harvesting in Yugoslavia, aged just 17. Since the rescue, she has become an international motivational and inspirational speaker.
Initially running her own personal training business, focussing on five-star injury rehabilitation, nutritional advice and personal programmes, Lurata moved into the speaking world. She now aims to help audiences explore how they can make better connections in their professional and personal lives, how to overcome obstacles, and how to be more positive.
Find out more about Lurata Lyon here
Former Female Fighter Pilot in the RAF
Mandy Hickson was one of the first women fast-jet pilots in the RAF, and the only female pilot in her squadron. She has operated in some of the world’s most hostile environments, including patrolling Iraq’s no-fly zone. She demonstrates only too well the importance of remaining calm under pressure and leading from the front in order to get the best for yourself and your team.
Find out more about Mandy Hickson here
Fertility Education, The Fertility Podcast
Natalie Silverman is passionate about fertility education and hosts The Fertility Podcast, the UK’s first podcast dedicated solely to supporting people struggling to conceive. Since its launch, she has created over 300 episodes with more than half a million downloads and listened to in over 90 countries. The podcast is consistently within the top 100 global health podcasts and has paved the way for conversation in the fertility industry. Natalie is also available to hire for voiceover work at Great British Voices.
Find out more about Natalie Silverman here
Professor of Social Policy and Race, Race and Racial Injustice
Professor Nicola Rollock is a consultant, academic and inspirational speaker, specialising in racism and racial justice in education and the workplace. The author of The Racial Code (2022), Nicola, has produced research on black female professors in the UK, discovering that in 2018, there were just 25 black British female professors.
In 2021, she was appointed as Professor of Social Policy and Race at King’s College London and helped expand her own ground-breaking work examining workplace experiences of black female professors in the UK. It is this passion and expertise that saw her included in the Powerlist of the most influential black Britons.
Find out more about Professor Nicola Rollock here
If you’re still not sure who would be the perfect speaker for your International Women’s Day event, then the team here at Great British Speakers can help you choose. Browse all our inspirational International Women’s Day speakers here or contact us on 01753 439 289 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you are ready to start your search.
Check out our 2022 International Women’s Day Speakers for even more inspiration!