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The experts on International Women’s Day 2023

The experts on International Women’s Day 2023

It’s International Women’s Day 2023 and this year the global campaign theme is #EmbraceEquity. We have spoken to some of our experts who are working on the ground in women’s health and lifestyle, to understand what they are doing to make a difference for women, forging an equal world.

Dr Anna Cantlay - GP, Menopause Specialist, and FTC Chief Medical Officer

Tell us about how you got into your career and how are you working to make your field open, inclusive, and accessible to all?

I was 8 years old when I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I was fortunate to have the support structure around me to get me there – encouragement from my parents, school and a lot of hard work and dedication helped to secure a place at medical school and beyond. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity and I know the path is more challenging for many.


When practicing for medical school interviews we were told to think of a creative answer to “Why do you want to be a doctor” and not simply say “I want to help people.” But that is the truth. I feel extremely privileged to have a career where I get to care for people at the beginning and the end of their lives and study a field that is endlessly fascinating. I have huge job satisfaction and could not imagine doing anything else.


Women make up 77% of the NHS workforce and I am proud to be part of it. 47% of very senior management roles within the NHS are held by women. There is still more work that needs to be done – we still have a gender pay gap that needs to be addressed. But there are positive changes to improve this, including Shared parental leave, Flexible working and networking, peer support and mentoring initiatives for women in many areas.


It’s encouraging to see a lot more focus within the NHS on improving women’s health and health equality for women and the Women’s Health Strategy for England published last year. It’s needed – although women slightly outlive men, women in the UK spend a greater proportion of their lives in ill health or disability compared to men and in recent years commissioning and funding decisions in healthcare have disproportionately affected women. The Strategy Is promising but actions speak louder than words.


What is your mission?

In recent years, my purpose and passion has become focused on improving women’s health and health inequality. I have developed specialist interests in Maternity and Menopause Care and am working with my local Primary Care Network to address health inequalities in areas such as cervical cancer screening. I believe education is key and empowering women with knowledge helps with self-advocacy and making informed healthcare decisions.

Lyndsay Mason, Founder of For The Creators

Tell us about how you got into your career and how are you working to make your field open, inclusive, and accessible to all?

I fell into fashion. I am a marketer by trade and before starting For The Creators led the digital marketing strategy for Cow & Gate & Aptamil. I started For The Creators during my maternity leave following the birth of my son Hamish. I was so disappointed with the state of maternity fashion and how wasteful it was to buy new clothing during pregnancy and then again postpartum that I wanted to create a better, more sustainable way. 


Our mission is to create a sustainable solution that makes all women feel the best versions of themselves at such a pivotal moment in their lives. We enable women to build their wardrobes in the way that suits them whether that be to rent a beautiful dress for a wedding, buy pre-loved or purchase high-quality essentials. We want to make it as affordable as possible to access clothing that makes you feel the best version of yourself and empower you when you need it most.


What is your mission?

Our aim is to help women feel their most confident when they need to the most, by connecting them with content and products, carefully selected for every stage of motherhood.


We want to help women across the world come back to themselves during one of the most transformative times of their lives, in a sustainable and accessible way.

Rosie Stockley - Pre-Postnatal Fitness Specialist

Tell us about how you got into your career and how are you working to make your field open, inclusive, and accessible to all?

I started Mamawell to provide quality information and training to women through all life stages. it's grown from pregnancy, to postpartum and way beyond with the goal of finding movement that supports both physically and mentally. Mamawell programmes are at an accessible price point for most and were free to NHS workers during the pandemic, plus there is lots of free mamawell content available on various platforms - from videos and articles. I try and outreach as much as possible with organisations and brands to get quality, helpful information to as many women as possible.


What is your mission?

The mission of Mamawell is to empower all women at whatever life stage to know that looking after themselves physically and mentally isn't selfish. That  they can only give their full energy out to others in conjunction with their own needs being met. I want women in the pregnancy and postpartum period to really understand what is happening in their bodies so they can respect the process and show up strong for themselves.

Rosie Gray - Pregnancy and Postnatal Doula and Antenatal Educator

Tell us about how you got into your career and how are you working to make your field open, inclusive, and accessible to all?

My journey to becoming a Doula followed the life-changing experience of raising my three daughters. I feel passionate that the right support can make all the difference in having a positive and empowering birth experience - and this does not have to mean a natural physiological birth. The crux is, it has to be highly informed, fully respected, and fear-free. Maternity care often comes from a place where women’s choices are decided for them and lack aspects of control. Women are faced with a growing amount of different care pathways so in the absence of knowledge, it can be hard to make informed decisions and avoid being ‘processed’. In my role as a Doula and Antenatal Educator, I believe firmly in accessibility of information to all and that solid antenatal education is vital.


There is a wealth of incredible antenatal information out there, which as doulas we are always sharing and promoting to all via social media platforms. In addition, many of us work with clients in financial hardship, or those referred by charitable partners (such as refugees). There are also a large number of free online groups out there, for example with other doulas I run a free ‘Birthing With Confidence’ zoom meeting once a month, where women share their positive birth stories and midwives do a free Q&A. We have an increasing number of women that join every month. Lastly, I feel strongly that a key component of birth education is encouraging women to find their tribe and ‘create their village’, peer to peer support during the perinatal period helps build the foundations for a positive birth experience and really sustains us moving forward into parenthood. Cheerleading each other is vital in promoting inclusivity and accessibility to all!


What is your mission?

It is my ongoing life mission to make sure women’s voices are placed at the centre of their maternity care and to support, empower and encourage all women to take control of what they allow to happen to them during childbirth. Having the best information will ultimately lead to an innate inner confidence – knowledge is power. Birth is our greatest achievement, on International Women’s day let us celebrate this, only we are capable of growing, sustaining, and producing life from our bodies, we are honestly truly amazing! 

Beth Huett, Styling Consultant

Tell us about how you got into your career and how are you working to make your field open, inclusive, and accessible to all?

My career in fashion started at a young age with my first retail job beginning at Topshop 4 months before my 16th birthday. A degree in design, some time as a freelancer, a stint as a retail manager, and then almost 10 yrs owning a womenswear boutique led me to condense my skills, pursue my love of working with people and launch my business as a personal stylist. I understand all women have different requirements and needs, and I work together with them to help empower them. I am passionate about working with all kinds of women and am working to make styling more accessible through the likes of social media and by collaborating with brands. I am committed to educating myself on how I can be an ally to minority groups and use my platform, as a style consultant, to introduce my community to a diverse range of brands. I believe that through fashion and style, we can inform culture and push for greater inclusion for all.


What is your mission?

My mission is to help women discover their style and to feel good in what they wear. I encourage and enable them to carve out some time for themselves and take a journey with me to feel confident in who they are & how they present to the world. To own your style is an empowering process, one I am privileged to be part of.