Derbyshire’s leading ladies

Ellen MacArthur
Ellen MacArthur

IT has been observed for over 100 years as a tool to push for social equality.

But now International Women’s Day is a celebration of women’s achievements, giving recognition to how far the gender struggle has come.

Some of the world’s most inspirational women are proud to call Derbyshire home, and the history books tell a similar story, with Florence Nightingale, Bess of Hardwick and Olave Baden-Powell all hailing from the county.

And to mark this year’s celebration, which took place on Tuesday, the Derbyshire Times, with the help of our Facebook fans, have compiled this list of the area’s current leading ladies.

The astounding achievements of Whatstandwell sailor, Ellen Macarthur, earned her the title Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005.

She triumphed in the male-dominated sport to break the record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe and has since gone on to set up two charitable trusts to help rebuild lives.

Wendy Watson and Becky Measures are a mother and daughter duo that embody the annual celebration. They have faced tragedy in their family, from breast cancer, and gone on to do life-changing work to educate not just the public, but the medical profession through the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline.

And keeping the county laughing is Matlock comedian Isy Suttie, whose work on Channel 4’s Peep Show has secured her place as one of the funniest women in Britain.

Mark Grayling, our Facebook friend, said: “Don’t overlook Natascha Engel. First woman to be an MP in this part of the world and transforming the way parliament works as the first chair of the backbench business committee.”

l Do you know any inspirational women? e-mail