Looking back at 2022: Our top news stories of the year

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Continuing our series of looking back at the past year, we delve into some of our favourite and most important news stories of 2022.

This year has seen the government launch new initiatives to level up employment opportunities for women; England’s Lionesses win the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022; Rising Star and TechWomen100 alumni celebrated in INvolve’s 2022 HERoes Women Role Model Lists; and the sad passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

We look forward to bringing you all the latest news, debates and thought-provoking articles in 2023!


New Years Honours Award WinnersThe year started with a bang, with the announcement of the New Year’s Honours List!

The 2021 New Years Honours List was the most ethnically diverse honours list yet, with 14.2 per cent of recipients coming from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

A number of our Rising Star and TechWomen100 Award winners were also recognised.

Charlene Hunter, Founder of Coding Black Female and winner of a TechWomen100 Award in 2020, received an MBE for services to Technology and Diversity; Rising Star winner, Morenike Ajayi, Founder of Career Nuggets, was awarded an MBE for services to Race Equality and Inclusion; Sherry McBain, who won a Rising Star Award in Defence in 2016, was awarded a Royal Red Cross.

Rising Star judge and one of WeAreTheCity’s Trailblazers, Pamela Hutchinson received an OBE for services to Diversity and Inclusion in the Financial Sector; while Paulette Cohen, Global Diversty & Inclusion Director at Barclays, was awarded an MBE for services to Business, and to Diversity and Inclusion.

Polar Preet ChandiAlso in January, Preet Chandi, a British Army physio made history by becoming the first woman of colour to solo ski to Antarctica.

Preet smashed expectations by completing her expedition to the South Pole almost a week ahead of schedule. The expedition had been expected to take between 45 and 48 days.

Skiing the 700 miles across Antarctica from Hercules Inlet in just 40 days, 7 hours and 3 minutes – a daily average distance of around 17 miles – she came tantalisingly close to setting a new world record by a woman for the trek.

Preet is now the third fastest female solo skier for this expedition behind Davidsson and Britain’s Hannah McKeand who recorded a time of 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes in 2006. She is also the first person to reach the South Pole on foot in two years.


Continuing into February with some positive news, data published in a report by the government-backed FTSE Women Leaders Review showed that almost 40 per cent of UK FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women, putting the UK second in international rankings for board representation.

The findings demonstrated a major sea-change in attitudes to getting women leaders to the top table of business in the UK.

Unfortunately, February took an upsetting turn when Russia invaded Ukraine. That month, nearly 200,000 Russian troops crossed into Ukraine, targeting a number of the country’s key military sites and marking the official start of war. Since the initial invasion, thousands of Russians have been arrested for speaking out and, unfortunately, many have lost their lives. As the war continues, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and those who stand against the conflict.


On International Women’s Day, the government announced two new initiatives to level up employment opportunities for women as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first initiative sought to improve pay transparency in the job application process and help businesses who want to go even further in attracting women to their positions. As part of the pilot scheme, participating employers listed salary details on all job adverts and stopped asking about salary history during recruitment, hoping to provide women with a firm footing to negotiate pay on a fairer basis.

Madeleine AlbrightSadly, March was the month Madeleine Albright, first female US Secretary of State, passed away aged 84.

Born in Czechoslovakia, Madeleine’s family emigrated to the US in 1948, where Madeleine would eventually become the first female Secretary of State and in her later years, a feminist icon and author.

The mother of three served under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001, where she influenced American foreign policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Middle East. She called for the expansion of NATO, and pushed for it to intervene in the Balkans to stop genocide and ethnic cleansing. She sought to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons, and championed human rights and democracy across the globe.


April saw some discouraging statistics, with research showing that over a thousand of the largest UK employer’s filed non-compliant gender pay gap reports.

The analysis, conducted by pay gap specialists Spktral, found that 1,200 UK-based public limited companies with 250 or more employees have submitted non-compliant gender pay gap reports.


On a more positive note, May saw a new government taskforce launched to help boost women starting fast-growing companies.

The ‘Taskforce on Women-Led High-Growth Enterprises’ was set up to support women entrepreneurs, tackle investing barriers, and increase the number of women-led fast-growing businesses.

SafeUp featuredAlso in May, SafeUP, a social network which enables women to use the SafeUP app when they feel unsafe, encounter any real or potential danger, and require support, guidance, or physical assistance, launched a new initiative called Safe Places – where pubs across London undergo staff training on assisting women who feel unsafe in public places by the SafeUP team.

Women who are walking down the London streets and feel unsafe can open the SafeUP app and see on the map, alongside guardians, Safe Places which they can enter and feel safe in.


In June, research conducted by NOW: Pensions and PPI revealed that women are reaching retirement age with the biggest pension savings gap on record.

The findings showed that by the time women reach retirement age (65), they will have an average of £69,000 in their pension, £136,800 less than the average man, who will have saved £205,800 in the same period.

While the average UK pension pot has almost doubled to £111,600, women’s savings have hardly increased at all. In fact, if inflation and the cost of living are taken into account, women are arguably in a worse position than before.


July brought some distressing news to the world when, in a shocking decision, the United States Supreme Court reversed Roe v Wade, meaning the constitutional right to abortion now no longer exists in many states of America.

Abortion was made legal across the US after a landmark legal ruling in 1973, often referred to as the Roe v Wade case.

The US Supreme Court’s ruling has since overturned that right. Find out how you can raise awareness here.


England Women's Football Team - Lionesses

We saw some positive news in August, thanks to England’s Lionesses who secured the win of the Women’s Euros 2022!

England defeated Germany in their historic UEFA Women’s EURO final at Wembley Stadium. Goals from Ella Toone and Chloe Kelly helped the Lionesses to victory with a 2-1 defeat.

The Lionesses’ win was the first major tournament England’s women have ever won. It’s also the first tournament an England senior team, either male or female, have won since England won the World Cup in 1966 – a time where women were banned from playing competitive football in any form.

A-Level Results Day was once again a focus in August – with girls getting more top grades.

Girls received more top A-level grades, compared to boys, but the proportion of those achieving top grades has fallen since 2021.

37.4 per cent of girls received more top grades, compared to 35.2 per cent of boys. Overall, 36.4 per cent of pupils achieved A* and A grades. In 2021, 44.8 per cent of pupils were awarded A grades and above.

Also in August, HSBC, Bristol Myers Squibb & Leicestershire County Council were announced as finalists of Menopause Friendly Employer of the Year.


A young Queen Elizabeth IIIn September, the nation mourned the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who sadly passed away aged 96 on 8th September 2022.

The Royal Family confirmed the news that the Queen had died peacefully at her home in Balmoral. The UK then entered a period of mourning for the monarch and on 19th September, the nation watched on as she was laid to rest.

On a more positive note, britain’s diverse heroes were celebrated at the UK’s largest diversity awards on Friday 16th September at the breathtaking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

The awards, in association with ITV News, shone a light on the incredible role models and community organisations who have changed the lives of so many.

Our founder, Vanessa Vallely OBE, took to the stage to present James Adeleke, Founder of Generation Success, with the Entrepreneur of Excellence Award for helping over 10,000 young people through mentoring, training and recruitment.

Rising Star and TechWomen100 alumni were also celebrated in INvolve’s 2022 HERoes Women Role Model Lists.

The HERoes Women Role Model Lists, supported by Yahoo Finance UK, showcase business leaders who are championing women in business and driving change to increase gender diversity in the workplace.


October saw Liz Truss appointed as the new Prime Minister, though she quickly became the shortest serving Prime Minister in UK history, after just 44 days in office. She quickly lost favor with fellow conservatives and the wider public following a disastrous budget announcement.

In incredibly distressing news, women in Iran are being policed and killed for their bodily autonomy. On September 13th, 22-year-old Mahsa ‘Jina’ Amini was arrested and detained by Iran’s ‘morality police’ for wearing what was deemed to be an ‘improper’ hijab whilst on a family trip to Iran.

In response to Amini’s brutal death, Iranian women have been leading an uprising. In bold and courageous attempts to defy the Iranian ‘morality police’, Iranian women are burning their state-mandated scarves and publicly cutting their hair. The Iranian government has responded to these protests by inflicting further brutality on protestors, with reports of live ammunition, tear gas and pellet guns being used, alongside the government cutting off internet access and shutting mobile network use in several areas of Iran.


As November marked the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, it was announced that a new charity, ‘The Fly Anyway Foundation‘, had been launched to support and empower survivors of domestic abuse to start businesses.

Feeling strongly that there is a gap in provisions for those who have been through domestic violence situations, and have managed to get out, Dani Wallace, the founder of the charity, has been working in the background for the last 2 years to build up a support system that enables people who have left an abusive relationship to create independence, and financial freedom, through building up businesses they love, connected to their passion and purpose.

Miniature people with piles of coins, minimum wage, pay gap, pay transparency, equal payThe 20th November marked Equal Pay Day, just two days later than in 2021, and still 41 days before the end of the year. While it’s no revelation that the gender pay gap is closing too slowly, the day puts this disparity into stark focus.

Each year the Fawcett Society marks Equal Pay Day – the day in the year when, based on data about average pay for those in full-time work, women overall stop being paid compared to men.

#AskHerToStand Day also falls in November. Every year on 21st November, #AskHerToStand Day calls for more women to become MPs. On this day 104 years ago, women won the right to stand for election in the UK.

Over a century later, more than 5000 MPs have been elected, but fewer than 600 of these have been women, highlighting a need for drastic change.

50:50 Parliament encourages everyone to invite and support women to stand for elected office.


Saturday 3rd December marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Research showed that almost half (46 per cent) of employers do not report on the number of people with disabilities they employ.

According to the Equality Act 2010, employers are obliged to make reasonable adjustments to support disabled job applicants and employees so they can are not faced with any substantial disadvantages when applying for, or doing, a job and progressing in a role.

New guidance, published by Support with Employee Health and Disability service, which launched in October 2022, will be available to employers and will share essential information about supporting employees with disabilities at work.


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