We choose to challenge

To mark International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating just a few of the women who are challenging stereotypes and leading the way on our canals.

A woman and two men at work in a workshop Vanessa Coakley working at our craft workshop in Wakefield

This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge and, from engineers to ecologists, heritage advisers to chief operating officers, the women of the Canal & River Trust certainly rise to it. Let’s meet some of them.

Vanessa Coakley, craft operative

Determined to find a practical trade, Vanessa joined the Canal & River Trust at our craft workshop in Wakefield, helping to build lock gates. She’s now a vital part of our lock renovation team.

Laura Mullholland, ecologist

Our nature expert for the South West region, Laura is a font of all knowledge when it comes to canal wildlife. In this video, she shows us just some of the species she’s spotted at Caen Hill Locks.

Kate Langley, heritage adviser

Kate is one of our leading lights when it comes to restoring, researching and sharing the history of our canal network. In this video she shows us the modern history of Knowle Locks.

When you look at senior positions, women such as Julie Sharman, chief operating officer, are leading the way. Just as importantly, we’re working to engage women at all levels and, as Let’s Fish star Freya Sullivan shows, no challenge is too great to take on.

Last date edited: 26 February 2021

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