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#BlackHerStory - Celebrating Women of the Past & Present

It's Black history month and this month we are celebrating women from the past, present and future that have paved the way in the career world, not just for back women, not just for women but for everyone.

1. Diane Abbott

Diane Julie Abbott is a British politician representing the Labour Party and Labour Party Black Sections. She was born in Paddington in London, raised by a Jamaican family and she made history in 1987 when she became the FIRST black female to be elected into parliament. Joining Labour, she was elected to Westminster City Council in 1982 and then as an MP in 1987 and she has been re-elected as MP in every general election since ( that's 9 times in a row). She paved the way for people of colour in politics in the UK and has served on a number of parliamentary committees on social and international issues ( the Iraq war, domestic violence, women's rights and Black injustices). She has used her platform to create incredible initiatives like the founding of the London Schools and the Black Child initiative, which aims to raise educational achievement levels amongst black children.

How political industry in the UK changed in the last 40 years ...

Do you know that ...

  • One in ten of the 650 MPs elected in last election (2019) are non-white. Ten years ago just one in 40 MPs was non-white, from to research by the independent think tank British Future

  • 33% of UK MP's are women when Diane Abbott was first elected was less than 0%

2. Margaret Busby

Margaret Yvonne Busby is a Ghanaian-born multi-award winning publisher, writer and edits who currently lives in the Uk. Not only is she the youngest, but she is also the first black women publisher in the UK. She started her early career writing book reviews for The Guardian and has also written obituaries of artists and activists such as Buzz Johnson, Jayne Cortez and many more. She has then has gone on to write for other papers such as The Observer, The Independent, The Sunday Times and The New Statesman. She then grew to contribute to writing books like Colours of a New Day: Writing for South Africa, The Legacy of Efua Sutherland and many more. Margaret Busby managed to change the publishing industry in the United Kingdom.

How the publishing industry in the UK changed in the last 40 years ...

Do you know that ...

  • Seven significant Black women publishers who have followed Busby's led

  • The publishing industry is one of the very few industries that has almost closed there pay gap, 53% of the executive roles and 55% of senior leadership roles in this industry are women

3. Kanya King

Kanya King is the CEO and founder of the MOBO Organisation, which has been monumental for bringing black music and culture to the mainstream. In 1996 she officially established the MOBO Awards and it has amplified into a national phenomenon. She was awarded an MBE for her services to the music industry in 1999. The MOBO Awards has become one of Europe’s biggest Music Award ceremonies. Artists such as Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Diddy, Jay Z, Lauryn Hill, Rihanna and Tina Turner have attended these awards. Kanya's empire has helped the careers of numerous UK artists such as Stormzy, Craig David and Rita Ora. Has been voted one of the most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour and one of the most influential entrepreneurs with a net worth of over £10 million.

How the publishing industry in the UK changed in the last 30 years ...

Do you know that ...

  • In 2020 there are still twice as many male entrepreneurs in the UK

  • The music industry as a whole is extremely male-dominated, especially the business side of the industry, ( awards committees, producers, label owners) In 2018, Statista showed that the share for producers in the music industry is dominated by men by 97.7% and women 2.3%.

4. Lilian Bader

Lilian Bader was one of the first Black women to join the British armed forces. She was born in Liverpool to a merchant seaman Barbados who served in the First World War. In 1939, at the onset of the Second World War, Bader enlisted in the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI) and was dismissed after seven weeks when it was discovered that her father was not born in the United Kingdom. On 28 March 1941 she enlisted in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force after she heard that the Royal Air Force (RAF) were taking citizens of West Indian descent. She started in instrument repair, which was a trade newly opened to women and worked her way to, Leading Aircraft Woman and was promoted to the rank of corporal.

The aviation industry is one of the most male-dominated industries in history and still till this day.

How the Aviation Industry in the UK changed in the last 60 years ...

Do you know that ...

5. Queen Nanny

Queen Nanny is a Jamaican legend and national hero. She was born in the Ashanti region of present-day Ghana in 1686 and was kidnapped and enforced into slavery in Jamaica at a young age. She later became one of the Maroons which were a group of Black people who fled from slavery and founded their own communities. She headed several slave rebellions and uprisings against the British for about 30 years. Queen Nanny officially freed over 800 enslaved men and women from captivity.

6. Dr Mae Jemison

Mae Carol Jemison was born October 17, 1956, and is an American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Jemison first applied to NASA's astronaut training program in October 1985, but NASA postponed selection of new candidates after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. Jemison reapplied in 1987 and was chosen out of roughly 2,000 applicants to be one of the fifteen people in the NASA Astronaut Group 12, the first group selected following the destruction of Challenger. She now works on projects to advance technology in developing countries.

How the astronomy industry has changed in the last 40 years ...

Do you know that ...

  • There are now over 50,000 women in engineering professional roles – almost double the number 10 years ago (2009)

  • December 2019, of the 565 total space travellers, 65 have been women.

7. Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris a Democratic politician makes history! The current Californian senator becomes the first black woman to be the Vice President nominee for the Joe Biden Presidential election. Kamala Harris is an American politician from Oakland. She worked her way from the deputy district attorney to She was the first Indian American to serve as a U.S. senator as well as the second African American woman. She was previously was the state’s attorney general (2011–17) and now could be the next Vice-President of the United States.

How the political industry in the USA has changed in the last 40 years ...

Do you know that ...

  • There has been one female presidential nominee in U.S. history: Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

  • There have been three female vice presidential nominees: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, Republican Sarah Palin in 2008, and Democrat Kamala Harris in 2020.

These a just a very few Black women we are shouting out this Black History month, let us know any other women you really admire.



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