Pioneering Essex Women – Present Pioneers

There are many diverse stories of Essex women in STEAM who pioneered the way for women. Their stories capture your interest and imagination. The legacy they left behind is being seen today with many women from Essex still leading the way.


Florence Adepoju 1991

Cosmetic scientist and entrepreneur Florence Adepoju set up a cult beauty brand inspired by the glamour associated with hip-hop music and street culture. She is on a mission to address the gender imbalance in science and to promote STEM careers to school girls across the UK.

Florence was selected as a UN Mentor for International Day of the Girl Child.


Cheryl Frances-Hoad 1996

In 1996, composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad won the BBC Best Young Composer Competition at the age of 15. Her success continued and in 2010 she became the first young composer to win two BASCA British Composer Awards in the same year.  

A prolific chamber composer, Cheryl’s works have premiered in some of the world’s top chamber venues.


Dame Christine Joan Beasley DBE 1944.

After training and working as a nurse, Christine held a range of senior posts and was Chief Nursing Officer for England from 2004-2012, is the Director within the Department of Health on Patient and Public involvement, the Allied Health Professionals and Healthcare Scientists, and for the voluntary and community sector.

Since 2012 Christine has been a Non-Executive director at the NHS Trust Development Authority.


Dame Claire Bertschinger DBE 1953

After graduating with an MSc in Medical Anthropology, Claire advocates on behalf of suffering people in the developing world having worked in numerous disaster zones. Her work in Ethiopia in 1984 inspired Band Aid and subsequently Live Aid, the biggest relief programme ever mounted.


Dawn Shadforth 1973

One of the foremost in her field, Dawn Shadforth is a music video and documentary director, editor and artist. In 2001 she directed the iconic Kylie Minogue video, ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’. Her work is well known for its tightly choreographed performances and for liberating, rather than containing, the movement of dancers.

Dawn’s numerous music video credits include promos for Oasis, Björk, Tinie Tempah and Florence & the Machine. She has received several coveted awards.


Do you know an inspiring female STEAM champion from Essex? We would love to hear from you!

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