International Women’s Day 2021 Dutch Embassy in the UK and British Embassy in the Netherlands celebrate under the #EmbasShe initiative

On 8 March, the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD). As North Sea Neighbours, women’s rights, gender equality, and female leadership are important topics for both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. On IWD, the Dutch Embassy in the UK and the British Embassy in the Netherlands jointly celebrate the empowerment of women. We also encourage people to reflect on how we can contribute to gender equality in our daily actions. Under the #EmbasShe initiative, we want to stimulate conversation, challenge gender bias and work towards equal opportunities for all.

On this day in 1908, the first female workers’ strike occurred in New York. 15,000 women protested against the harsh and unsafe working conditions, frequent wage cuts, and gruelling long hours. The United Nations began celebrating IWD on this date since the International Women’s Year in 1975. Due to COVID-19, the pressure on women’s rights, gender equality has increased. It remains important to keep this issue at the forefront of our work.

The Dutch Embassy in the UK and the British Embassy in the Netherlands are proud to present our #NorthSeaNeighbours gender champions! These women are at the forefront of themes with great importance to both the Netherlands and the UK, such as climate, gender equality, and tech innovation. They have used their skills, knowledge, and networks to lead in these arenas. It makes them role models and today we celebrate them and their inspiring work.

The Dutch Embassy in the UK and the British Embassy in the Netherlands wish our gender champions and everyone who is making a difference for women in the Netherlands, the UK or elsewhere in this world, a happy International Women’s Day!


Pascalle Grotenhuis, Dutch Ambassador for Women’s Rights & Gender Equality

As Ambassador for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, Pascalle works tirelessly with leaders around the world to ensure women have equal opportunities to their male counterparts and to work to break barriers to women’s political and economic participation. She spends her days working with our missions around the world and international bodies like the United Nations to put initiatives in place that will allow women and girls to be involved in whatever they want to be. The Netherlands has put an ambassador like Pascalle on the forefront to make progress on these issues.

Helen Grant, UK Special Envoy for Girls' Education

Helen became actively involved in politics in 2006 and was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Kent constituency of Maidstone & The Weald at the 2010 General Election. She is the first black female Conservative MP and Minister. After serving on the House of Commons Justice Select Committee she was promoted by David Cameron as Minister for Justice 2012-13 and Minister for Women and Equalities 2012-2014.  During that time, Helen was one of the three ministers responsible for taking the historic ‘Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013’ through Parliament.  As Minister for Sport and Tourism from 2013-2015 she notably championed the growth of women and girls’ participation in sport in the UK, driving a similar agenda for people from diverse and under-represented communities. Under Prime Minister Theresa May, Helen served as the Conservative Party’s Vice Chair for Communities for 2 years from 2018 to 2020.  During this period she travelled extensively and focussed upon issues concerning equality, inclusivity, social cohesion, racism, and discrimination, engaging deeply with the UK’s many ethnic groups and communities.In January 2021 she was appointed as the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Girls Education, leading the UK’s efforts internationally to ensure all girls get 12 years of quality education. One of her goals is to drive a global campaign to improve learning and get 40 million more girls into school around the world by 2025. Link to Helen's biography here.

Image: Dutch Embassy in the UK / British Embassy The Hague


Hester Anderiesen Le Riche, CEO and Founder of Tover

Hester Anderiesen Le Riche is the CEO and founder of Tover - the healthcare technology company creating a more caring and inclusive world for people with cognitive challenges, including dementia. Combining Industrial Design Engineering with Clinical Psychology during her PhD at the Delft University of Technology, Hester explored and developed how games and ‘purposeful play’ could help patients with dementia. Her discoveries began the journey to her creation of the pioneering cognitive stimulation system - the Tovertafel (or ‘Magic Table’ in Dutch). The Tovertafel uses pioneering play technology to provide vital cognitive stimulation for people living with dementia and other cognitive challenges, to slow degeneration, reduce apathy and create moments of joy. Since then, Tover has gone from strength to strength, working together with care professionals across Europe to provide care that is designed with a proven track record of positively influencing quality of life and creating memorable moments. Hester’s mission to create 10 million ‘moments of joy’ per day in care and education settings is well underway and she continues to create next-generation products specially adapted for people with dementia and those with learning disabilities.

Riham Satti, Founder and CEO of MeVitae

Riham Satti is a keynote international speaker, neuroscientist and entrepreneur. She co-founded MeVitae in 2014; a deep tech company aimed at helping companies mitigate algorithmic and cognitive biases from the hiring process. Her job entails achieving a mission of creating fairness in the workplace. Day to day she is overseeing operations, sales and business strategy of the company. Furthermore, Riham is involved in several initiatives; founder of Linkedin’s Women in Tech group, director at TechTonic, and member of TechUK Diversity and Skills Council. She has expertise in the science of HR and human decision-making. She is a business mentor including the London Business School entrepreneurship course (helping over 20+ early-stage founders who have raised over £1m+). Riham holds two postgraduate degrees - Clinical Neuroscience from the University of Oxford and Biomedical Engineering from Imperial College London. Riham is inspired by creating change - ending diversity as a buzzword and closing the tech skill gap to accelerate innovation. 

Image: Dutch Embassy in the UK / British Embassy The Hague


Nancy Bocken, Professor in Sustainable Business

Nancy Bocken is a Professor in Sustainable Business at the Maastricht Sustainability Institute. At Maastricht University, she is responsible for the Sustainable Business research theme and tasked with the development of the new Master’s in Sustainable Business Innovation and Leadership (working title) together with York University, UK. She is also leading the new ERC funded research project Circular X, which is about experimentation with new circular service business models together with a multidisciplinary team of researchers. Nancy holds a PhD from the University for Cambridge, Department of Engineering, which was funded by Unilever, and an MSc in International Business (Maastricht School of Business and Economics), and conducted a master’s programme in economics and management at the Sorbonne, Paris. For her PhD with the Low Carbon Materials Processing Group (now Use Less Group) she investigated how consumer goods manufacturers such as Unilever can reduce their product life cycle carbon footprint. Previously, Nancy worked as a research assistant on the project: “Well Dressed – The present and future sustainability of clothing and textiles in the United Kingdom”, which was funded by Biffa and M&S. The report proposed a range of future opportunities to improve the sustainability of the textiles and clothing industry. For the Centre for Industrial Sustainability at Cambridge, Nancy was working in close collaboration with other academic institutes, industry, NGO’s and policy makers to find ways to help the industrial system become more sustainable on the short and longer-term. One of her projects was project REDRESS with M&S about innovation to drive garment recovery and retain the value of clothes over time. For the EU projects RESCOM and ERN at TU Delft, two collaborative research consortia, she has been looking into design, supply chains and new business models for a closed loop economy. As part of her Fellowship role at CISL, she acts as a tutor, supervisor and speaker on executive programmes in sustainability leadership.

Annemarie Trevelyan, Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth

Anne-Marie Trevelyan is a British Member of Parliament (MP) for Berwick-upon-Tweed for the Conservative Party. In January 2021, Anne-Marie was appointed as Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth leading delivery of the UK’s Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution which will allow us to build the UK's contribution to climate change.

In November 2020 the British Prime Minister appointed Anne-Marie the UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency. Her role is to engage the governments of the countries most affected by climate change and drive support from the international community and private sector. Until September 2020, Anne-Marie was Secretary of State for International Development, where she championed girls education and changing development funding from responsiveness to preparedness with  international aid and development cash. She is passionate about transforming the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, while promoting Britain’s economic and security interests. Link to Anne-Marie's biography here.

Image: Dutch Embassy in the UK / British Embassy The Hague


Professor Carole Mundell

Carole was appointed Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in October 2018 and took up the role of International Science Envoy in January 2021.  She is Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy, Head of Astrophysics at the University of Bath and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. A world-leading scientist, she is a frequent guest speaker at international conferences. She sits on a number of strategic advisory panels for UK and international groups, is a committed communicator of science, and is an advocate for diversity in science.

In the short series of podcasts by the British Embassy in The Hague, Carole talks to host Andy Clark – together with Marion Koopmans, Head of the Department of Viroscience at the Rotterdam Erasmus MC – on the Covid-19 pandemic that started almost a year ago. Listen to the podcast here.

Professor Marion Koopmans, DVM PhD  

Marion focuses on global population level impact of rapidly spreading zoonotic virus infections, with special emphasis on food-borne transmission. She is coordinator of the VEO project working towards prediction, detection and tracking of when and where risk of outbreaks is increasing. She is the director of the WHO collaborating centre for emerging infectious diseases at the Erasmus Medical Centre, and Scientific Director “Emerging infectious diseases” of the Netherlands Centre for One Health. 

In the short series of podcasts by the British Embassy in The Hague, Marion talks to host Andy Clark – together with Professor Carole Mundell, International Science Envoyr at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – on the Covid-19 pandemic that started almost a year ago. Listen to the podcast here.

Image: Dutch Embassy in the UK / British Embassy The Hague