WeAreTheCity are proud to publish our top 50 Trailblazers in Gender Equity for 2023

Trailblazer Montage 2023

Allies, lobbyists, mentors and campaigners committed to driving equity and societal change for women have been named in the 2023 Trailblazer50 list compiled by WeAreTheCity.

Revealed ahead of International Women’s Day 2023 in support of its #EmbraceEquity theme, the Trailblazer50 list highlights incredible individuals working tirelessly to make society a better place for women.

This is the second Trailblazer50 listing to recognise and celebrate those who step outside of their day job to drive conversations around domestic violence against women and girls, period poverty, race, menopause, FGM, child marriage and social mobility.

From health, banking and law to sports, charity and broadcasting, these 50 equity trailblazers include activists, athletes, professors, CEOs, mentors and writers. Despite their different backgrounds, they share one common goal: to change the way we perceive equity and to spearhead meaningful action.

“First and foremost, our Trailblazer50 seeks to bring public recognition of the impact and influence these changemakers are having on society. In the spirit of their work and aspirations, we asked each trailblazer what action they would like to see organisations or the government take to drive gender equity.”

– Vanessa Vallely OBE, CEO of WeAreTheCity


Their answers were many and varied, including the following calls for change:

  • Have shared and equal maternity, paternity and parental leave
  • Enable flexible working hours and job sharing at executive level
  • Eliminate the gender pay gap
  • Recognise and remove barriers
  • Acknowledge and address bias
  • Prioritise women’s health care and focus on prevention rather than cure
  • Realise that ethnicity and race can negatively heighten someone’s risk and experience of women’s health issues
  • Ensure a level playing field in girls sport to reflect recent elite level success
  • Introduce comprehensive education on gender equality for boys and girls
  • Engage men in the discussion around the need for equity in the workplace and society


“Across every sector and community we need to shift our understanding and relationship with our own health. It’s an absolute truth: prevention is better than cure. Employers need to put supporting staff wellbeing on their agendas and the government needs to fund and prioritise public health initiatives.” Athena Lamnisos, CEO, Eve Appeal

“The key to true gender equity is education. We know that not only does education provide women and girls access to more opportunities, but it can also provide our male counterparts with the knowledge on how they, too, can, and should, fight for a more just and equal world.” Jaspreet Kaur, Award-winning Poet, Writer and Educator


“I would urge companies to redouble their efforts to unlock vital sources of early stage funding, continue inspiring young girls into entrepreneurship and boost the business opportunities for female founders. We know that unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs is crucial to securing gender equity and that £250bn could be added to the UK economy if women matched men in starting and scaling businesses.” Dame Alison Rose CBE, CEO, NatWest Group plc

“The government and organisations need to better understand and address gender experiences and outcomes. For example, action needs to be taken regarding the disproportionate number of Black women affected by obstetric challenges such as heavy periods and fibroids and the impact of these on their careers and everyday lives. Crucially, action must be taken to address the number of Black women dying in childbirth.” Dr Nicola Rollock, Professor of Social Policy & Race, King’s College London & Author, The Racial Code

“Normalising a shared approach to parental leave and caring responsibilities more generally. We will not make the progress we need in gender equity in the workplace if the burden stays on one set of shoulders.” Amy Cashman, Executive Managing Director, Kantar Insights, UK & Ireland

“Flexible working from day one for everyone; by default. So, the onus is on the employer to prove why it wouldn’t work, not on the employee to prove why it would.” Anna Whitehouse, Founder, Mother Pukka

HSBC Masterbrand LogoHSBC Bank has kindly sponsored the 2023 Trailblazer50 List and is also hosting a networking lunch at its HQ in Canary Wharf towards the end of March. The aim of this is to enable the trailblazers to come together to connect, hear each other’s stories, share best practice and further strengthen their resolve to bring about change.

“Change takes courage and commitment. The Trailblazer50 list is full of people who are making a real difference in our community and furthering our collective goal of equality and inclusion. We applaud the recipients and congratulate them on the impact they’re making,”

– Sam Cooper-Gray, Head of Market Strategy and Engagement, Global Business Banking, HSBC

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