Celebrating Sheffield women for Women’s History Month

Alex Turner isn’t the only famous person from Sheff

March is International Women’s History Month. It celebrates and brings recognition to women from all over the world who have achieved great things.

Last year, the Women of Steel statue was erected outside City Hall to recognise the women who were conscripted to work in steel factories during the Second World War. The Women of Steel show just some of the contributions that women have made in turning Sheffield into the city it is today.

Sheffield is no stranger to homegrown talent, but there are many people you may not have realised were originally from the Steel City. These women below were all either born, raised or studied in Sheffield. You may have heard of some of them, whilst others are less famous but can still put their names to amazing achievements.

The Women of Steel statue

Jessica Ennis-Hill

Jessica Ennis is probably the most well-known woman on this list. She won gold at the London 2012 Olympics for the Heptathlon. She has competed in numerous national and international competitions throughout her career, before retiring last year. Ennis graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2007 with a degree in psychology.

Angela Carter

Angela Carter was born in Eastborne, but she was evacuated to Yorkshire during the Second World War. She is famous for her short stories and novels, that often contain feminist themes. Her short story collection ‘The Bloody Chamber’, in which Carter rewrites classic fairytales, is her most famous work and it is studied at A-Level at a number of schools across the country.


Roisin Murphy

Roisin Murphy moved to Sheffield when she was seventeen, as she planned to go to art college here. She then met future bandmate Mark Brydon and they started writing songs together. Murphy has said that she was influenced by Sheffield’s night life. Probably not Corp Wednesdays though.

Candida Doyle

Candida Doyle was the keyboardist in Sheffield Britpop band Pulp. The band are most famous for their hit single ‘Common People.’ Doyle has suffered from arthritis since the age of 16, but remained as the keyboardist throughout the band’s career.

Georgiana Cavendish, The Duchess of Devonshire

The Duchess of Devonshire is played by Keira Knightley in the 2008 film, ‘The Duchess.’ Georgiana Cavendish is known for being a style icon of the era. Though she lived a century before suffrage, the Duchess was one of the first female political activists.

Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris is most famous for writing the book, ‘Chocolat’, the film adaptation of which was nominated for five Oscars. Harris grew up in Barnsley and trained to be a teacher at the University of Sheffield. Harris is now a prolific author. She has written more than 20 novels and numerous short stories.


Mary Hutton

Mary Hutton was born in 1794 and spent most of her life in Sheffield. Hutton was a working class poet who campaigned for better healthcare and the abolition of child labour.

Emily Maitlis

Newsreader for the BBC, Emily Maitlis grew up in Sheffield. She has presented on Newsnight, BBC One and the BBC News Channel.

Oona King

Born in Sheffield, Oona King is a Labour politician, who was formerly the Chief Diversity Officer for Channel 4. In 2013, she competed on Dancing on Ice.

Grace Clough

Grace Clough won gold at the Rio Paralympics for rowing, despite having only taken up the sport in 2013. She studied Sociology at the University of Leeds but is originally from Sheffield.


Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson was the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia. She set a number of long distance aviation records during the 1930s and she flew in the Second World War. Earlier in life, she studied Economics at the University of Sheffield. She died in a plane crash in 1941 on her way to an RAF base due to bad weather conditions and low fuel.

Helen Sharman

Dr. Helen Sharman was the first British astronaut. She first went into space at the age of 27, making her one of the youngest people to do so. Sharman was born in Sheffield and, along with Jessica Ennis and Grace Clough, has a star on the Sheffield Walk of Fame, situated outside the Town Hall.