New book celebrates 21 of Merseyside’s most inspiring female entrepreneurs and role models

Twenty One is published by The Women’s Organisation and offers a snapshot of just a few of the many inspirational women following in the footsteps of historic pioneers such as Eleanor Rathbone. Tony McDonough reports

The Women's Organisation
The 21 women featured in Twenty One with The Women’s Organisation CEO, Maggie O’Carroll


A new book published by The Women’s Organisation celebrates the 21 outstanding female entrepreneurs, businesswomen and role models in the Liverpool city region.

Twenty One says the 21 “extraordinary tales” offer a snapshot of how women across Merseyside are following in the footsteps of inspirational pioneers from the past, including Labour MP Bessie Braddock and womens’ rights campaigner Eleanor Rathbone.

It also marks the 21st birthday of the Baltic Triangle-based The Women’s Organisation which, since its birth as Train 2000, has helped empower more than 50,000 women and been instrumental in the setting up of 3,000 new businesses.

More than 250 guests attended the launch of Twenty One at The World Museum in Liverpool and among the 21 subjects included in the book are: Liz Drysdale, the first black councillor in Liverpool; businesswoman Elaine Clarke, managing director of the city’s Baa Bar; Tracy Gore, chief executive of the Steve Biko Housing Association; and Mary McDonald, governor of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

‘Fascinating profiles’

Maggie O’Carroll, chief executive and co-founder of The Women’s Organisation, said: “The publication of this celebratory book with its fascinating profiles of 21 tenacious and remarkable women is opportune and extremely relevant as the issues of equality and image are today centre stage, and very much in the spotlight.

“We hope that as one of the most well-known social enterprises in Liverpool and the UK, and one that is dedicated to encouraging female entrepreneurs, we have made some inroads.

“There is still a long way to go, but for us every success is celebrated and is a step in the right direction – as the women featured in this book symbolise so well.”

Public appeal

Twenty subjects for the book were chosen from scores of submissions to The Women’s Organisation, while suggestions for the 21st inspirational tale were put to a public appeal.

This generated a flurry of nominations which resulted in Mary McDonald being chosen as a fitting final chapter.

The Women’s Organisation spokeswoman Abi Inglis said Mary was an obvious choice for their book, adding: “We were impressed by her long-standing relationship with Liverpool Women’s Hospital and all the families she has supported, and the impact she has had on the lives of so many Liverpool women.”

The Women’s Organisation has printed 1,000 copies which are available via or at the News From Nowhere store in Liverpool’s Bold Street.

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