We’re delighted to unveil our first Top Women in Toys listing this month, recognising women from all areas of the UK toy business, available to read online here.
Up until fairly recently, the toy industry was very much a male-dominated market, with women mostly claiming the ‘traditionally female’ roles in PR, marketing etc. But as our special feature proves, the UK toy business is full of influential leaders, creative inspirations and unsung heroes – who also happen to be women.
And we’ve been overwhelmed by the reaction to the piece from across the industry. We set out at the beginning of the year to find 50 of the top women in toys; the response we received spurred us on to increase the page-count of the feature and to instead highlight 100 of the market’s female professionals.
They represent all parts of the business – marketing and PR, yes, but also managing directors and general managers, sales, licensing, commercial, retail, analysts, toy safety and more.
(Of course, there is one notable omission from the Top 100 – our very own Samantha Loveday. Sam has been the figurehead for ToyNews for many years, but we felt that it wouldn’t be right to include ourselves in the list)
What was particularly pleasing about putting together this piece was the camaraderie; the majority of nominations we received were from women suggesting other women to be recognised for their achievements. At the risk of sounding like Germaine Greer, there is clearly something of a sisterhood in market.
And that’s where the Women In Toys association comes in. Founded in the US, WIT aims to provide a professional networking base for women and to promote the achievements of these women.
Frances Cain, founder of A Girl For All Time, is heading up the UK chapter and epitomises what the organisation – and our feature this month – is all about. She founded her business five years ago, brings up a family and has had some personal battles over the past year. Yet she is passionate about helping other women in the business - voluntarily, and in her ‘spare time’.
Cain plans to roll out a series of networking events and workshops over the coming year and, if this Top 100 Women feature – which is in association with the WIT - is anything to go by, she’ll surely have a captive audience.
Meanwhile, congratulations to all the women in our first ever Top 100. These are the ambassadors and role-models for the future female leaders of our industry. We salute you.