When Sylvia Tidy-Harris launched Womenspeakers.co.uk on May 20th 2004, she did so with a determination to pave the way for women to be paid the same as men. Having started The Speakers Agency in 2001 it immediately became apparently that if the budget available was large they wanted a man and if it was small they supposed they would have to have a woman! And what shocked her even more was the fact that more often that not it was female bookers making these type of comments. One even called up to say she didn’t want a certain speaker because, “she does them for free and we want a real speaker.” Shocked Sylvia set about ensuring womenspeakers were encouraged to reduce the number of freebies they did too.
Sylvia also started this women only agency with a great sense of pride and honour. She was proud to be setting up the only women centric agency outside of the USA as a vehicle for improving the presence of women on the speaking circuit and honoured that so many talented female speakers wanted to be included.
So many amazing women attended the launch of womenspeakers including Sally Gunnell OBE, Judith Chalmers Edwina Currie, Erin Pizzey, Diana Moranm Sahar Hashemi, Toyah Willcox and Dr Rosemary Leonard to name but a few. It was held at the Lord’s and Lady Taverners HQ
The launch of the website generated massive amounts of positive publicity: after all there were no women’s lists on any UK speaking bureaux other than on Sylvia’s other company There was one negative comment: when asked by the press one established bureau owner actually said they didn’t see a need for a women’s list. Needless to say within three months they along with most of the other speaker bureaux all had either a women’s list or an increased presence of women speakers.
Today Sylvia knows speaker bookings are now all about expertise and notoriety not gender. And all of these powerful women, many of whom are dominating their fields of work are in much demand for delivering moving, motivating and inspiring speeches which engage the audience with intelligence and wit. And they are earning the same as men.
13 years later womenspeakers.co.uk has been merged with The Speakers Agency so that there is now one great website from which clients can take their pick of the phenomenal women and men who come from the worlds of industry, business and entrepreneurship, who are experts on branding, finance, transformational leadership, marketing, the art of reinvention, politics and education and many other subjects. And all because all the women like all the men on this site, deliver outstanding speeches and hosting of events.