International Women’s Day 2012

Today is International Women’s Day, a day when we celebrate the achievements of women past, present and future. The theme for this year’s day is equality in pathways to work. On we have filmed and interviewed many extraordinary women with amazing career and life stories.

We put the spotlight on some of our icould female “˜stars’ who have triumphed in traditionally male orientated roles, overcome adversity and succeed by working together.

Stunts, Spaceships and Trains

Many young girls don’t dream of being an astronaut but Nicola Soper, says that was her dream since before she can remember. She followed her dream and is now a mechanical engineer, working for Astrium, as part of a design team that designs satellites in spacecraft that will eventually get launched in space. Eva Brodie was encouraged to follow her goal of being a train driver by her boyfriend, “I’m probably not your average typical train driver and I quite like that about the job. Mostly the reaction that you get from people is really good and very positive!”

Senior Stunt Coordinator, Abbi Collins, has worked her way up in a very male dominated environment. She says, “When you think you’ve reached your limit, actually you haven’t. I don’t feel I have any limitations, I think I can always achieve more and more.”

Against all odds

Sara Caplan, Director at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, experienced family tragedy at a young age but she feels that it has made her more determined in her later life. “My father got Alzheimer’s when I was 15, which had a big impact on the family and my mother died when I was 25, which is a bit longer but, by that time my father was in a care home and I in charge of the family. I think what that did for me was make me realise that I had to be able to stand on my own two feet and it made me really quite independent in terms of my career.“

Successful TV presenter Davina McCall had to overcome issues with her mother, which led to problems in her own life. “I was having a really tough time as far as family goes and things with my mum were quite tricky. She drank a lot and it was quite sort of…it was a mad time for me. I ended up starting to take drugs. And I started to take drugs really through the beginning of sort of sixth form and then it got kind of more and more, and then by the time I was twenty four, I had a proper drug problem.”


Success sometimes comes from working together and many women on have found strength from their friends. Best friends Sharon Brown and Cathy Johnson turned their strong friendship into a business. Cathy says, “We always felt we would end up running a business together as a result of our friendship. Sharon and I have been friends for over 20 years. But I think it took us a while to work out what that business would be!”

Hospital Matron, Claire Tolliday wouldn’t be where she is today without one special female friend, “The person who has influenced me most is a very good friend of mine who was a junior nurse on the ward where I very first started. She has encouraged me the whole way, and made me believe in myself, that I could actually do the job. Prior to coming into nursing I was probably a fairly nervous person, not sure where I was going with my life, but she made me believe that I can make a difference.”

For more information on International Women’s Day visit

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