Black History Month 2023 is an occasion to recognise and celebrate the contributions of Black people, with a special focus this year on Black women.
Under the banner of ‘Saluting our Sisters’, the annual campaign seeks to highlight how women of African and Caribbean descent have shaped and influenced every field of life. It covers arts and culture, politics, science, technology, music, commerce, and social justice movements.
Despite their countless contributions to society, the achievements of Black women, in particular, have too often been overlooked or forgotten. That is why, this year, we will be celebrating the exceptional achievements of Black women.”Black History Month 2023
Through a series of specially commissioned posters, Black History Month 2023 will ‘showcase the remarkable achievements of Black women and highlight their diverse and profound impact on society’.
The list of trailblazers highlighted includes:
- Activists and thinkers. Bernardine Evaristo OBE (writer, first Black woman to win the Booker prize), Yvette Williams OBE (Grenfell Tower activist)
- Leaders: Baroness Valerie Amos (the first black woman in Cabinet), Dame Linda Hobbs (the first non-white High Court judge)
- Pioneers: Moira Stewart (the first Black female national newsreader), Dina Asher-Smith (Britain’s fastest female runner)
- Innovators and entrepreneurs. Kanya King CBE (founder of the MOBO Awards), Sharon White DBE (CEO at Ofcom, then John Lewis & Partners)
- Science and technology experts. Professor Dame Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu (leading researcher in blood disease care), Gisela Abbam FRSA (chair of the General Pharmaceutical Council)
Tackling continued challenges
While celebrating successes, Black History Month 2023 also calls attention to the inequalities Black women still face in the UK, both in the workplace and elsewhere.
- Black women are among the lowest earners in the UK, experiencing both gender and ethnicity pay gaps (PWC). Black African women earn 26% less than the average male worker, and Black Caribbean women earn 18% less (The Guardian).
- Black women face significant barriers to professional advancement due to both racism and sexism (University of Manchester).
- Two thirds of professional Black women have experienced racial bias at work. 50% of Black female senior managers have resigned as a result (Black Women in the UK Workplace).
- Black women in the UK are 3.7 times more likely to die in childbirth. Both social deprivation and bias in care are contributing factors (House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee).
Black History Month 2023 at Zellis
This year, we’re welcoming L’myah Sherae, founder of racial justice organisation Enact Equality, to address Zellis employees.
L’Myah Sherae is fighting for racial equality in education across the UK, through her non-profit organisation Enact Equality, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race Equality in Education, which she launched in conjunction with members of Parliament.
Prior to this work L’myah managed a team of political researchers in the House of Lords, and led the drafting and policy development of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill. Besides the House of Lords L’myah has also been appointed at the House of Commons in the office of the Labour Party’s leader. She was elected to the Houses of Parliament Staff Equality Committee for Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage. In 2018 L’myah won the Outstanding Woman Award due to her work in inspiring equality in politics.
L’myah, who is of Caribbean heritage, grew up in Nottingham, raised by her mother, who was a single parent. After an interest in race politics began at an early age, she has seen the benefits of a good education, first attending Aston University, and then — following an internship in parliament — going on to Cambridge to study politics and international relations.
Well known for her policy expertise, L’myah regularly appears as an expert on channels including Sky News, BBC, ITV, and Channel 5. She has also spoken on LBC radio and has been featured in Don’t Call Me Exotic and the Ham & High podcasts.
Flashback: Celebrating Careers in 2022
Last year for Black History Month, we took the opportunity to hear fascinating career and family stories from a few of our Black colleagues.
Follow the links below to find out more.
Meet Ruth Dooley and Joshua Dias, members of the product team at Zellis.
Meet Kevin Cameron from Customer Success and Rhoda Anderson in Customer Resolutions.
Meet Ibukun (Ibbs) Olubode, Implementation Project Manager at Zellis.