Last night’s International Women’s Day celebrations included a reception at the Amazing Women exhibition, hosted by Deloitte.

Through her portraits of high-profile women, including Dame Mary Perkins, Sasha Kazantseva-Miller, Sarah Griffiths MBE, Valerie Winn and the Revd Linda Le Vasseur, the artist Olympia McEwan has highlighted their own unique stories, their positive impact on the community and their place in the world.

Deloitte’s annual event saw women from business, education, government, charities and the wider community come together to discuss diversity, the gender pay gap and very real issues such as adult literacy and the future world that young people face.

Deloitte partner Jo Huxtable, who hosted the event, noted that this year feels like a very significant celebration for a number of reasons: not least, that 2018 marks 100 years since UK legislation was passed to allow the first women to vote. Topics of discussion included the Me Too campaign and how those revelations must be reflective of similar issues in many other sectors and industries.
‘Within the business sector more generally, progress has been made but there is still a long way to go to improve cultures within organisations and to remove ingrained attitudes and examples of gender inequality,’ said Jo Huxtable.

The evening included a discussion with Olympia McEwan, whose exhibition closes this Sunday. The invited guests quizzed Olympia on her inspiration for the project, why she chose the subjects and how she hopes the project will develop in the future.

‘It’s rare to walk into an exhibition and see a room of just women, all too often in history it is men we see celebrated through portraiture.

‘I wanted to reflect the diverse and incredible achievements of women in Guernsey, and shine a light on some of the work that goes on under the radar, as well as acknowledge some of our high-profile women. It has been a very enriching experience to spend time with them all.

‘Through the paintings I wanted to share these women’s stories and their common thread of service.

‘My Yellow Chair Portraits concept continues to evolve and I am already talking to more women for my next project.’

A number of the Amazing Women featured in the exhibition were present and spoke about a variety of challenges that women face in 2018.

Jo Huxtable closed the evening by thanking Olympia and her portrait subjects and concluded that, as the 2018 IWD Press for Progress theme calls for, there is still much progress to be made.

‘The gender pay gap and the need for more women in senior leadership roles are two examples of disparity between men and women in the workplace. Within Deloitte, there is an ongoing focus on creating an inclusive environment which includes ensuring that all of our people have the same career opportunities regardless of their gender or background, and that change comes from transparency,’ said Jo.