LEADING women at Dudley Council joined forces with up-and-coming female talent at the authority to celebrate the achievements of women and girls to mark International Women's Day 2019.

Dudley Council’s deputy leader Judy Foster and chief executive Sarah Norman unveiled the theme for this year's day, #BalanceForBetter, where they met with Charlotte Edmunds and Lorraine Carter, two women who have careers in construction and surveying with Dudley Council.

The four women discussed some of the challenges and opportunities experienced by women in today’s workplace and each wrote down one key idea for how they can create a more gender balanced authority.

Charlotte Edmunds from Kingswinford started out as an admin assistant in building services at the council prior to taking up her trainee surveyor role in 2016. She plans to become a quantity surveyor in the future and is currently studying for a degree apprenticeship in chartered surveying.

Lorraine Carter, who lives in Wollaston, has worked for Dudley Council for 25 years. She started her career with the council as a technical officer and retrained in her 40s after successfully applying for a surveying post. She was sponsored by Dudley Council to complete a BSC Honours in commercial management and quantity surveying and is now a quantity surveyor and project manager.

They are two out of thousands of women who have forged successful careers with the authority, many in areas that are often male dominated such as horticulture, construction, planning and environment.

Councillor Judy Foster, deputy leader of Dudley Council said: "This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BalanceforBetter and I have seen first-hand how societal expectations and opportunities can sometimes close doors to women and girls.

"We have a shared responsibility to create a more gender-balanced world and I am proud to represent a council that has so many successful women in both senior and typically male dominated roles.

"It was a pleasure to meet with Charlotte and Lorraine today, they are reminder of the talent and ambition we have in women in Dudley borough and the hope for a future that contains truly equal opportunities for all.”