Alex Pankhurst Loakes

Great, great grandson of Emmeline Pankhurst and leading female entrepreneurs help mark International Women’s Day

The great, great grandson of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and leading female entrepreneurs will help mark International Women’s Day and the launch of a new organisation to promote female achievement in Cornwall.

University of Exeter Business School Cornwall students marked the start of their new Women in Business society with special guest Alex Pankhurst Loakes, a fellow undergraduate, who talked about his famous relative and why he is a male feminist. 

The society has been set up to inspire women and to help them achieve their ambition.

The event, on 7 March was organised by second-year student Dana Marat. Leading women in business - Manda Brookman, Director of Permanently Brilliant, Dr Ufi Cullen, Lecturer in Management and Entrepreneurship and Alison Theaker, Business Mentor, Coach and Trainer at The Spark, spoke about leadership, female entrepreneurship, how to stand out in the workplace and strong woman in a man’s world.

Alex, who is in his third year studying business, discussed the book written by his mother, Helen Pankhurst, Deeds Not Words: The Story of Women's Rights - Then and Now. He spent part of his childhood in Ethiopia and hopes to return there and set up his own business when he graduates.  Helen is the granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst and great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst.

Alex said: “I’ve grown up knowing about the achievements of my ancestors, and also my mum, who inspires me so much with her work with NGOs and the modern feminist movements. The women in my family have had a powerful impact on me. I want to make a difference in my life and career and make them proud, and continue their good work.

“I am a firm believer in gender equality and I want to show how much I support it and make a difference. It’s great to be able to talk about my mum’s book and to support the brilliant students here who are working for change.”

First-year University of Exeter Business School Cornwall students Ellie McMillan and Sophia Rossi, are the joint presidents of the new Women in Business society.

Ellie, originally from Wiltshire, hopes to set up her own project management or consultancy business. She said: “Our aim is to promote equality in society, and the actions of women working in businesses can have a big impact. We hope the society will give students the confidence to achieve their goals now and in the future. We have a lot of people keen to be involved in the society and are very excited about our future activities.

“The society will allow members – who will be male and female, to discuss equality and what adaptions they could make in their life to promote this. We hope it will inspire them to work for change in the future. Although much progress has been made, there is a lot more which can be done.”

Sophia, a first year student originally from Badminton near Bristol, said: “We hope to help students build their confidence through inspirational talks and personal development training with help from the career Zone. In the future, we hope to work with strong leading women from all professions so we can learn from their wisdom. Essentially, we hope to empower women so they can break down any barriers in the workplace that have arisen due to inequality.”

The society will host regular guest speakers and help students network with bosses at leading firms in Cornwall, as well as get career advice.

Date: 9 March 2018

Read more University News