Inspirational Women

There are already many amazing women who are helping to shape Wales and the UK in a number of ways; as Public Appointees, Trustees of charities, Board members of public and private organisations and alongside volunteering there are also some inspirational role models working to further the equality of opportunity in public life.

We wanted to highlight the journey these women have made towards success to show that barriers can be overcome and inspire more women to take steps to achieving a public appointment themselves.

If you are or know of a woman who is an inspiration to others get in touch so that we can share your story.

Anita Davies

Anita DaviesAnita Davies is the chair of Women Making a Difference and has volunteered with the organisation for the last 8 years and keenly took part in their Active Citizens program. As well as this she is the chair of FOLPS friends of Litchard primary, chair of the Bridgend Liberal Democrats and a community councillor for Coity higher community council. Anita is also a school governor and attends as a representative and voice for parents who have children with disabilities. She is a volunteer befriender for Face to Face, which helps to connect parents with disabled children for emotional and practical support. Through her employment she attends a number of committees and advisory groups for the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University and third sector for people with sight loss.

Anita currently lives with her two children and her partner. She is registered blind and has experienced many challenges. Before having her children she was a World, European and International champion in blind judo. And was the first woman, aged just 19, to travel all over the world to develop women's blind judo, as prior to this only men were able to compete. She has also faced challenges in her home life as she was a single parent of a child with a physical disability and a child with sight loss. Due to her son’s condition she has spent most of his life fighting to get the services and education he needs. Therefore, she says her passion is based around disability by improving independence and access around all aspects of life by educating society in a positive way.
 
When the Welsh Assembly first started Anita signed up to a scheme called the BBC 60 which she still works with at present taking phone calls on a variety of subjects asking for her viewpoints. She describes the work with Women Making a Difference and Active Citizens as being inspirational as it has given her a new understanding of topics she had very little or no experience of. Anita states: “I have worked in the 3rd sector for 22 years in the field if sight loss and carried out many roles around access and design, independent living, awareness training and personal development for individuals to know their rights.”

Anita says that she was always destined towards the type of work she does as she feels it is important for people to have a voice. She is very passionate about issues she has personal and professional experience of and is aware that some people are unable to get as engaged for varying reasons. Certain groups of vulnerable people are often forgotten and she feels that more awareness needs to be raised about helping to achieve equality. Anita sums it up by saying: “I enjoy helping people. Knowing I have made a difference to someone's life makes it all worthwhile for me. Being able to support a person can make a huge difference to the choices they make.”

She has faced many barriers as a woman who is disabled to get where she is today. As many people, outside of her immediate family, told her she could not do certain things. At school she was told there is so such word as ‘can’t’ and even now if someone says she can’t do something she strives to prove them wrong. The range of discrimination she has had to deal with and the hurt it caused only made her stronger once she had allowed for time to rationally solve how she would deal with the same situations again.

Anita cites four women who played major roles in her life and inspired her in the different directions she took. Firstly, her mother for encouraging her to do things, even just as simple as getting on her bike again. Her school PE teacher who would never allow her to give up and had the motto of there is no such word as ‘can’t’. Another is her colleague and friend, Carys Henry who has inspired her throughout her 22 year career. And last but not least, Paula Manley who has been Anita’s inspiration in public life for the last 8 years.

Anita’s message to women who would like to put themselves forward for a public appointment is that “it can seem a bit daunting but once you have attended whatever it is for the first couple of times it is easier. There are so many advantages such as developing your own skills, making friends, building your confidence and knowledge. The list goes on. If you are nervous find someone to mentor or support you."
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