On Tuesday 7 April we hosted the first of our #CoronaConversations online event series.

People tuned in online to watch our CEO, Sam Smethers, in conversation with prominent leaders in the women's sector about how Coronavirus is affecting women and girls in the UK and why we need to make their experiences more visible.

You can watch the live recording and read more about our panelists below.

We’d like to say a big thank you to our amazing panelists and to our brilliant audience for making it such an informative and inspiring evening. We heard from award-winning writer and campaigner, Caroline Criado Perez, about women's lack of visibility during the UK's crisis response; Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters, about the specific impacts of Coronavirus on black and minority women experiencing gender-based violence; and Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of UK Women’s Budget Group, about the economic impacts particularly on low-income women.

Watch the live recording

What's next?

In the coming months, we'll be campaigning alongside over sixty partner organisations to make sure that women affected by the crisis are more visible, their voices heard, and their needs met.

Find out more


Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, the Fawcett Society

Sam Smethers
CEO, The Fawcett Society

Sam joined Fawcett in August 2015 as Chief Executive. Prior to Fawcett, she was the Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus for over six years. Sam is no stranger to equalities and gender issues having worked for both the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. She also served as a Fawcett trustee between 2007 and 2010, was a trustee of Gingerbread for seven years and has nine years’ experience working in Parliament. Sam is passionate about equal representation, valuing and sharing care and closing the gender pay gap.

Caroline Criado Perez
Award-winning writer and campaigner

Caroline Criado Perez is an award-winning and bestselling writer, campaigner and consultant. She won the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year Award 2013 and in 2015 she was named an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She is the author of Do It Like A Woman, published in May 2015, and Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, published in March 2019.

Pragna Patel - Founder and Director, Southall Black Sisters

Pragna Patel
Founder and Director, Southall Black Sisters

Pragna Patel is the founder and Director of Southall Black Sisters Centre (SBS). SBS is, a multi-award-winning women’s organisation founded in 1979 to address the needs of black and minority women experiencing gender violence. It successfully campaigned for the release of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, a landmark case in which an Asian woman was convicted of the murder of her violent husband. The case reformed homicide law, creating greater awareness within and outside minority communities. Pragna is also a co-founder of Women Against Fundamentalism.

Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson
Director, Women’s Budget Group

Mary-Ann is the Director of the UK Women's Budget Group. She has worked for women’s equality and human rights for over twenty years as a campaigner, researcher and trainer. She was previously Director of the Fawcett Society and a Commissioner on the Women’s National Commission. She is a founder member of Coventry Women’s Voices and a board member at Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre. She has a PhD in Law from the University of Warwick.

Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director, UK Women



Booking for this event has now closed.