BUSINESS leaders in Bury came together this week to mark International Women's Day at an inspirational and open panel discussion.

The Recharge Bury panel, held at the Fusilier Museum, featured three of the borough's most prominent female business figures: Angela Davies, CEO of testing laboratory MSL; Julie Ann Forbes, sales and marketing director of property management firm Hamilton Heath; and Elizabeth Clark, CEO of award-winning advertising technology company Dream Agility Ltd.

It was also chaired by Hilary Centeleghe of Manchester-based GC Business Growth Hub, alongside her colleague Coral McFarlane, marketing manager at sister firm GC Business Finance.

Over the course of the day the panel shared lively, humourous and frank discussions about the panelists's business journeys.

They also considered innovation challenges faced by UK companies versus those in other countries, as well as Brexit and a range of other topics.

Of high priority was the continuing gender pay gap, with the panelists asserting that pay levels within companies must be transparent and based on skill.

The also sought to encourage the next generation of female business leaders to continue striving for equal representation in an often male-dominated business world, with Ms Ann Forbes telling the audience to "Be brave, be confident and don't be intimidated."

Closing the panel, Ms Centeleghe added: “For me, two things should be clear following today’s event; opportunities exist within a wide range of sectors in the Bury area, and these opportunities are open to everyone on merit, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or any other identifying characteristic.”