Celebrating Sheffield’s iconic women for International Women’s Day

March 8 marks International Women's Day and to commemorate the occasion, we take a look at some of the women who have played an important role in Sheffield.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 12:30 pm

International Women’s day is one that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, as well as promoting gender parity.

There are a number of women in Sheffield who have gone above and beyond to help others or have helped to create better opportunities for future generations.

Singer, actress and television presenter Marti Caine, and Sarah McNulty, who founded the Tramlines music festival, have helped put Sheffield on the map in the world of entertainment.

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Women munitions workers at Thomas Firth and Sons Ltd pictured in 1917.

Meanwhile, olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill has added to Sheffield’s sporting talent.

Dorrett Buckley-Greaves, a founding member of Sheffield and District African Caribbean Community Association, has spent many years campaigning and volunteering for a number of different organisations.

Dorrett - also Sheffield’s first black foster carer - has been awarded with an MBE for her dedication to her work in the community.

Barbara Wragg and her husband Ray, were named Sheffield’s ‘Lotto Angels’ after they gave away a large chunk of their £7.6 million Lottery win to help others.

Sheffield Women's Suffrage Society Meeting at the Montgomery Hall, addressed by actor Mr Forbes -Robertson in Sheffield city centre - September 1, 1909.

Barbara passed away in 2018 but the kindness she showed throughout her life lives on in the many people she helped.

Mary Ann Rawson was a founding member of Sheffield Female Anti-Slavery Society.

In 1841, Mary and her sister Emily arranged for a day school to be created in the chapel on the grounds of Wincobank Hall, their family home.

It operated as a school for many children until the 1900s and today the chapel is still used for community purposes.

The Women of Steel statues dressed as Bishops on International Women's Day in 2017. A protest ensued against the proposed appointment of Philip North as the new Bishop of Sheffield who opposed the ordination of women.

Kathleen Roberts, a Woman of Steel, has spent years trying to get the female steelworkers the recognition they deserve and after much fundraising, a ‘Women of Steel’ statue in Barker's Pool was unveiled in 2016.

Kathleen’s story is echoed by many Sheffield women who had to take over the running of Sheffield’s factories when the men went to fight in the war.

Dr Helen Mary Wilson, Sheffield's first female doctor in 1893, fought for the right of women to vote in elections and served as honorary secretary and President of the Sheffield Women's Suffrage Society in the early 1900s.

In 1920, she was the first woman to be appointed magistrate in Sheffield.

Wincobank Hall in the 1800s.

Winifred Gales was part of the Sheffield Society for Constitutional Information, a British activist group founded in 1780 to promote parliamentary reform.

Dr Helen Sharman was nicknamed The Girl from Mars as she once worked as a chemist in Mars’ chocolate department.

She has been awarded an OBE for her pioneering work and became the first British space explorer in 1989 after being picked from thousands of applicants.

Pam Liversidge is Sheffield’s first female Master Cutler.

She is also the first female president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and has been awarded an OBE for her services to engineering.

Elizabeth Parkin was the Queen of the Sheffield Assembly until her retirement. She invested widely in the steel industry in the 1700s.

Master Cutler Mrs Pam Liversidge at the Cutlers' Hall, Sheffield - Oct 4, 2011. Picture by Chris Lawton

These women now have awards named after them in The Star’s Women of Sheffield awards, nominations of which are now open.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.