Voting for the 2018 edition began in December with nominations open to all residents in the UK. Past winners have included charity founders, businesswomen, teachers, nurses and mothers: women who demonstrate true resourcefulness, community spirit, inclusion, equality and diversity.
Finalists Lorraine Jones, Lisa Wells, Liz Rotherham, Eileen Chubb and Victoria Azubuike were officially revealed at a black-tie Awards Gala on International Women’s Day in February 2019. Each woman was nominated for their selfless and wholly unique contributions to UK’s communities.
Lisa Wells has been battling terminal bowel cancer since 2017 while fundraising over £100,000 for both her family and local charities. Liz Rotherham, diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003, campaigns for mental health awareness across the UK at public talks with schools, police and NHS staff and through her website heads2minds.co.uk, where she shares her story and gives advice. Eileen Chubb, a former care home worker, launched Compassion In Care 15 years ago to provide support to whistleblowers and relatives concerned about care homes. Victoria Azubuike acts as a role model for younger women through her initiative Us Programme, offering inspiration and guidance at seminars with local youth clubs.
This year’s winner, Pastor Lorraine Jones, was honored with a Swarovski crystal award for dedicating her life to keeping vulnerable teenagers out of trouble. Five years ago, her 20-year old son Dwayne was stabbed while trying to break up a knife fight. He died two days later. Dwayne had long been an advocate for knife violence in his community, establishing a boxing club to keep kids off the street. Jones carries on his legacy at the club, now called ‘Dwaynamics’, supporting and rehabilitating youth through fitness classes and mentoring.
Each year, the International Women Awards gala serves to raise funds for YoungMinds: one of eight UK charities organized by Heads Together – a campaign coordinated by The Royal Foundation of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Swarovski is committed to empowering women and championing gender equality and aims to reflect these ideals through our internal and external initiatives, like The Future is Equal campaign. In addition, the Swarovski Foundation grants women access to education, job markets and vital life skills through charities like Women for Women International, Mothers2Mothers and Barefoot College.