Forward Ladies: Empowering Women & Organisations to Close the Gender Gap in Business

According to analysis published by the BBC in February, 40% of private companies who have published their latest gender pay gap are reporting wider gaps than they did last year. This means that the gap between pay earned by the middle-ranking man and the middle-ranking woman is growing, with women earning less than men in 74% of companies surveyed.

Forward Ladies is an organisation which exists to fight against that gender pay gap by creating a global platform to connect women to opportunities, networks, businesses and expertise that will empower them. They have branches all across the UK, including a Scottish branch which operates out of Glasgow.

Forward Ladies hosts events throughout the year, the largest being the FL National Awards and Summit, which exists to recognise the achievements of women in business in the UK and to encourage the growth of women. They function as a national celebration and showcase of the achievements of these successful women.

Nominations for the 2019 National Awards are now open, with applications and nominations closing on the 11th June.

Regional finalists for each award will be announced on the 27th of June, and national winners will be announced at the National Summit on the 29th of November.

Nominations can be submitted through the Forward Ladies website. You can nominate any woman who inspires you, or simply fill in the application form to put yourself forward. The form is designed to be quick and painless so your nominations won’t take a second. Once the nomination is done, nominees will receive an email asking them to fill out an application form to complete their entry into the awards. This form is available on the website, and can also be used by those who were not nominated but wish to be considered for an award.

Awards are available in the following categories:

SME Categories

(For women who founded or run a business)

  • Start Up – For women who have started a business that’s within its first 5 years of trading.

  • Young Entrepreneur – For women under the age of 30 who own or run a business.

  • Female Entrepreneur – For women who own or run a business.

Corporate Categories

(For female leaders and rising stars)

  • Corporate Leader – For women in a management role within a large corporate company (10+ years of experience plus evidence of mentoring people and community engagement).

  • Emerging Leader – For women working within a large corporate organisation who are achieving personal and general business progression.

  • STEM Leader – For women in a senior position within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics sector. Applicants can be running their own business or employed by a relevant business.

  • STEM Rising Star – For professional women working within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics sector who have made important advances in their STEM career path.

  • Public Sector/Not For Profit – For women who run or work/volunteer within public sector, charitable or academic organisations.

Joint Categories

(For both entrepreneurs and career women)

  • Mentor of the Year – For women who have mentored and aided the development of future industry leaders.

  • Male Agent of Change – For men pushing for the progression of women in the workplace.

  • Public/Third Sector Leader – For women who run or work/volunteer within public sector, charitable or academic organisations.

  • International Business – For women involved in a business which is successfully trading internationally.

Special Awards

  • Overall Winner – Presented to the woman who scores most highly across the judging criteria.

  • Lifetime Achievement – Presented to a woman who has significantly contributed to the support of women in their sector over a substantial period of time.


If you feel that any woman you know (including yourself!) deserves an award for the work they do, we’d really recommend nominating them for one of this year’s FL National Awards. It’s a great organisation, and the work they’re doing to promote gender equality in the workplace is absolutely vital.

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