Women's leadership event in Sunderland aims to address gender inequality

A women’s leadership event is being staged at Sunderland’s City Haill aimed at addressing gender inequality.

City businesswoman Katie Storey, founder and director of Storeymedia, a Media Consultancy based on Wearside, is calling on women in business to join forces to support and inspire more women to take on leadership roles across the region.

The event is open to all and is due to take place in Committee Room 1 at City Hall on Wednesday, November 23, from 1pm – 2pm.

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Katie said: “It’s about increasing influence and driving leadership impact to create real change. I have always been passionate and ambitious and in my 13 year long career in broadcast journalism I found it really hard to have my voice heard in the work place.

City Hall, Sunderland.
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"It led me to set up on my own and five years later, I still hear the same conversations from my clients and other women in business.

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"There is still a big gender equality issue, while a Women Leaders review report suggest progress is being made, it’s not enough and here in the North East we are often left behind.

"Confidence plays a huge a part in supporting women to take up the roles and this is why I have set up the ‘Women in Leadership Network’.

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Sunderland businesswoman Katie Storey

"I believe women are stronger together and this network won’t be a regular networking event. This will provide support in personal development, confidence coaching, public speaking and so much more.

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"The aim to raise awareness and implement actions to encourage women to have courageous conversations in the workplace and to put themselves forward for to get more visible and be seen as a leader, this will create a ripple effect; nothing changes if nothing changes and the only way to make a real impact is to get to the heart of the problem with training and education.”

Cllr Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re delighted to support Katie in delivering an event that encourages greater diversity in business.

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“Sunderland is home to a fantastic community of ambitious entrepreneurs with a spirit of collaboration that enables them to succeed and we’re pleased we are able to play a part in supporting that.”

Natwest Bank has also joined the collaboration. The bank’s Rose Review in 2019 highlighted that £250 billion could be added to the UK economy if the country’s women matched men in starting and scaling businesses.

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The most recent Rose Review progress report in 2022 revealed more women than ever are starting new businesses, with 140,000 all-female founded companies created in the previous year.

However, barriers remain and simply having the confidence to start or lead a business can deter many women from taking the first step.

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Nicola Kilkenny, Local Enterprise Manager for NatWest, said: “It is so important that women have the networks and the support they need to reach their full potential in business and at NatWest we work hard to remove barriers to enterprise and support female business founders and leaders to thrive.”