IN celebration of International Women’s Day, North East Worcestershire (NEW) College hosted a question and answer session with a panel of six local, successful businesswomen for staff and students on March 7.

The panel, headed by MP Karen Lumley, was made up of Sue Hanley, who is executive director and deputy chief executive of Redditch Council;  Tina O’Brian, the managing director of Exactech UK; Sue Foster-Agg, the headteacher of Vaynor First School; Karen Drinkwater, the managing director of JSC Rotational and Chief Inspector Helen Bennett from West Mercia Police.

The panel spoke of their careers and offered advice for being a woman in male dominated industries. The students asked questions about equal pay and whether they had faced any difficulties within their careers relating to being women.

Tina O’Brian said: "I face comments about being a woman in a male dominated industry on a daily basis, but my presence itself is facing the inequality head on."

As the event drew to a close, the panel were asked what would be the one bit of advice they would give.

Mrs Lumley closed the session with the inspiring words: "Never give up, know what and where you want to be and take the tiny steps to get there – success is all about perseverance."

NEW College assistant principal, Carol Duncan said: "We’re proud to have hosted this event for National Women’s Day. The panel provided a real insight for our students, and they learnt a lot from the session."

The event followed this year’s International Women’s Day theme of Inspiring Change. The focus of the theme was to challenge the status quo for women’s equality and celebrate the achievements of women politically, economically and socially.