What have Shirley Bassey, Cerys Matthews, Charlotte Church, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Martha Musonza Holman got in common?
They are all included in the 100 Welsh women list. The list was created by WEN- Women’s Equality Network to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918. The idea is to celebrate the contribution that the 100 women have made to the national life of Wales.

The list comprises of 50 women from the past who have made a big impact on Welsh life and 50 inspiring women who are currently shaping Wales. The list also includes the first Welsh female MP, suffragettes, anti-slavery campaigners, poets and medical pioneers. A shortlist of five will be drawn from the 50 historical women by a panel. The public will then vote on which women should be immortalised with a permanent statue on Central Square in Cardiff.


Martha, from Gilwern, attended a ceremony at the Welsh Assembly building to commemorate her inclusion on the list. She was joined by her husband, David Holman, Councillor Penny Simcock, Mayoress of Abergavenny and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Margaret Harris. She was also supported on the day by the A.M. for Monmouthshire, Nick Ramsay. The group were amongst the first to arrive, and Martha was immediately whisked away by BBC Wales for an interview. In the foyer of the Assembly was a large display with a picture of each woman who had been included in the list. There was a good representation of both the current 50 women and relations of the women from the past.

Martha said, ‘I really enjoyed meeting some of these great women including Gillian Clarke (Poet), Rebecca Evans (Opera singer), Gaynor Legall (First BME woman councillor in Wales), Kirsty Williams (Education secretary), and Leanne Wood (Leader of Plaid Cymru).’ She continued, ‘I was totally amazed that I was considered for inclusion with such talented and important women who have done so much for Welsh life. It means a great deal to me, having come from Zimbabwe and settling in Abergavenny just 11 years ago.’ There was an historic photograph taken in the chamber of the Assembly, a place normally reserved for Assembly Members. Inspiring speeches were made by Angela Gidden MBE, Eluned Morgan AM and the head of WEN, Catherine Fookes.

David said,’ It was a privilege to be invited to such a special event, and it is time that women are truly recognised for their contributions to society.’

Martha Musonza Holman