To mark International Women’s Day, I thought I’d give a shout out to just some of the amazing women in the allergy world.
I left it late to research this so I hope I’ve not missed anyone. If I have, let me know as I want to keep this list updated. It is an ongoing project to keep this list up to date!
Here they are, in no particular order:
- Tanya Ednan-Laperous – founder of Natasha’s Foundation and a tireless campaigner for changing laws after the tragic death of her daughter.
- Dr Glenis Scadding – Honorary Consultant Physician in Allergy and Rhinology at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, and Honorary Senior Lecturer at University College London.
- Michelle Berriedale-Johnson – the face behind the Free From Awards, she has raised so much awareness for this community.
- Dr Hazel Gowland – A leading patient and consumer advocate, she was involved in shaping the achievements of the Anaphylaxis Campaign from its earliest days in 1994. She now provides training in food allergen awareness and speaks regularly to help raise awareness.
- Dr Rebecca Knibb, Aston University – she currently works at the Department of Psychology, Aston University. Rebecca does research in Health Psychology. Her current area of interest is improving management of allergy and asthma.
- Liljia Polo-Richards – who created Allergy Companions, a wonderful resource where we can search for safe places to eat. The Trip Advisor for Allergy people! She has a child with multiple allergies herself so she knows how scary eating out can be. Please support her website by using and reviewing your favourite free from restaurants.
- Dr Francesca Sawer – Clinical Psychologist, previously of Guys and St Thomas NHS Hospital and Evelina Hospital Children’s Allergy Service. Her area of specialism and research is the psychological burden on those living with allergies.
- Jacqui Mc Peake, Food Allergen Catering Specialist, educates and trains companies and education establishments in the best standards of food allergen safety.
- Caroline Benjamin – Food Allergy Awareness Consultant, Trainer, offering Auditing, Mystery Dining, Judging for the hospitality industry. Working across the UK, Europe and Middle East. We also offer food safety training.
- Jay – Has a little boy with allergies and now offers 1:1 Coaching For Allergy Parents, Empowering Families With Food Allergies with Mindset & Communication skills training. You can follow her on Instagram as Ashfriendly
- Cressida Langlands – She’s always been working tirelessly behind the scenes of the Free From Food Awards but in recent years has taken more of a front seat. She is a huge champion of the allergy community.
- Lindiwe Lewis – Blogger and allergy advocate, Lindi is growing and growing in her life as a freelance writer. She also has a Podcast and Youtube channel.
- Julianne Ponan – Creator and founder of the wonder Creative Nature, providing chocolate, cake mixes, pancake mixes, bread mixes and more that are all free from the top 14 allergens.
- Emma Amoscato – Writer, author, blogger and allergy mum. Emma’s books Living with Allergies and You, Me and Food Allergies are a must have for everyone with allergies. She is also interested in the psychological affects of living with allergies.
- Lynne Regent – She was Chief Executive at The Anaphylaxis Campaign for many years. She is a regular speaker and is driving the AC towards greater things, better support and more awareness.
- Natalie Newman – The Intolerance Gourmand. Natalie’s son Callum has multiple life threatening allergies and she’s been campaigning, blogging and raising awareness, as well as recipe creation and advising companies who want to understand allergies better.
- Thalina Houghton – Blogger at Allergies in Bold is a champion for others. She has many life threatening allergies herself but tirelessly celebrates the achievements of others, helping young adults living with allergies.
- Vicky Montague – The FreeFrom Fairy and also creator of the most amazing gluten and wheat free flour for baking and bread which is wholegrain and doesn’t contain any nasties. Her latest series of Hopeful Conversations podcast is inspiration. You can find these by searching Free From Limits on YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts.
- Alexa Baracaia – who writes the Yes, No Bananas blog. She is also a writer and blogger with an allergic son. She is writing her own book about living with allergies so watch this space for that!
- Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne – the woman behind Genius bread and the author of one of my favourite allergy cook books. She was writing about allergies before it became more common. One of the trailblazers!
- Sabine Klaus-Carter – Calvins Free From – founder and creator of the most amazing 5 ingredient grain free bread, inspired by her sons allergies.
- Michelle Diane-Lowe – Writer and author, creating an inclusive set of books for kids with allergies where all skin colours are represented. You can buy her book Nut Free and Happy on Amazon.
- Caron Pollard – The Teal App UK – a wonderful app packed full with everything the allergy person needs to navigate the world with allergies. They also have a great podcast so check them out.
- Carina Venter, Associate Professor at University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine | Children’s Hospital Colorado, previously of Southampton University. She is conducting research and working with children and adults with a range of food allergies and has various scholarly papers published in the allergy area.
- Liane Reeves, Dietician at Churchill Hospital and my own dietician. Liane has really helped me to understand my gut, the food I can eat and how to discover what’s causing me problems. Really simple things like cooking oats rather than eating them raw made a huge impact.
- Dr Sophie Farooque – started work as the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust clinical lead for adult allergy in May 2010. She is particularly known for her work in drug allergy. Her other clinical interests include the diagnosis and investigation of anaphylaxis, allergen immunotherapy and allergic rhinitis/nasal polyposis.
- Eirka Jensen- Jarolim, is an Austrian physician and medical researcher in immunology and allergies based in Vienna. A main focus of her research is pathophysiological mechanisms for allergies and oncology such as mimotope vaccines and food allergies. Her laboratory has studied the major allergen in birch pollen, Bet v 1 since the late 1980s, and has worked out a mechanism by which Bet v I causes allergies.
- Ruby Pawankar – has been President of the World Allergy Organization (WAO), 2012 and 2013. She is the first Indian and first woman President of WAO, which was established in 1951. Her studies include the issues and challenges in the diagnosis of drug allergy/hypersensitivity among children and adults in Asia are likely to be different from non-Asian countries.
- Clare Bristow, mother of Sadie Bristow and founder of the Sadie Bristow Foundation, in honour of her daughter, who tragically died from an allergic reaction. The charity was founded to continue Sadie’s legacy by inspiring children to participate in sports and discover their true talents through our Tennis in Schools Programme. We also aim to improve access to specialist allergy nurses and spread knowledge about allergy awareness.
- Ruth Holroyd – Had to sneak myself in there didn’t I. Writer, blogger and author of The Reluctant Allergy Expert – How to kill the fear that anaphylaxis could kill you. I will never stop trying to help others navigate living with multiple life threatening allergies.
- Heather Landex – Author | Food Safety Expert | Inclusivity Consultant & Trainer | Earn More, Risk Less. I’m trying to demonstrate to the food service industry the brand value in serving everyone equally well. Serve someone who is usually excluded and they become your best advocate (and spread it to their network, and review you etc). I’m joining up the plant-based revolution, veganism and allergies as many will assume it is safe, and it is not. Lots of education needed here and Heather is smashing it!
- Stella Holt – The food allergic chef. Helping the hospitality industry provide confidence and excellent service for food allergic customers. Stella provides advice, training and support to companies wishing to understand food preparation, hygiene and contamination with regards to allergy catering.
- Micki Rose – Pure Health Clinic. Micki is an allergy specialist and she knows more about intolerances and coeliac disease than anyone I know. She can advise on allergen free supplements, probiotics and more. It was Micki who seeded the idea that I needed to heal past traumas, to look at my internal thoughts, feelings and experiences. It took me many years but slowly I have come to a time in my life where I feel I am in control of my future. I am moving forwards. I am doing what I can to heal and accepting the things I can’t. I am at peace with the things that have shaped me as a human being and even understand now that they are the very things that make me who I am.
- Michelle Eshkeri and Maini Singh – have written three kids books about allergies/food intolerance – nut, hay fever, gluten intolerance- so important to raise awareness. Check out Nutty the Squirrel, Daisy the Dog and Pizza the cat, who all have allergies!
I know there are so many more, but I’ve only picked out those who stand up, who share, who blog, who write, who campaign, who speak at events. I know there are so many other supporting each other and doing their bit to make things better at school, in workplaces etc.
If I’ve missed you out, please tell me off! and I will add you. I’ve got a terrible brain fog at the moment from constant lack of sleep but I’m doing my best!
It got me thinking, where are all the men? I mean there are men, like those who invented the medication for asthma, discovered hay fever pollen count system, invented adrenaline auto injectors etc. And there are some amazing Allergy specialists but as for advocates and supporters in the community, I could count them on one hand. Why is that?
Is it because they are just not on social media? Not vocal? Not taking their allergies seriously? At less risk of reactions? Not really bothered about advocating and supporting because these are traditionally female roles?
Where are they? I can count them on one hand. Dan from May Contain. Kyle Dyne. Anyone else?
SPOKIN have also shared their Top 100 Women in Food Allergy.
The Free From Food Awards also runs its own Free From Hero awards every year. Visit 2021 Categories – Free From Food Awards to find out more. Who will win for 2021?
Micki Rose says
Sniff. After 30 years, can I at least be an amazing intolerance and gluten sensitivity woman, lol?! (Just jesting!). Go them, great post x
Ruth Holroyd says
Oh Micki! That’s so funny that you’ve commented because I literally just recommended you do Vicki who also commented below. You can be the most amazing intolerance and gluten sensitive lady. There is only one Micki Rose and I don’t actually know anyone else with the same wealth of knowledge in the field. You’ve taught me so much. But THE MOST important thing you told me and which I fought against for a long time. For years in fact, was the internal healing and emotional baggage we might need to sort out before we can heal the rest of us. It’s so important and I’m getting there. But as I sad above, you can’t hurry TSW or love! I can honestly in many parts of my life I’m now happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. I’m just uncomfortable as sin at the moment with all the constant oozing and flaking but I’m getting there. Slowly slowly flaky monkey.
Micki Rose says
Oh bless you, sorry I only just saw this. I was jesting but your comment has made my day. I’m so glad I seeded that nugget then. I wish more people would believe me. I wrote the Healing Plan all about it but it’s a hard-sell!
In fact: I got this from someone only yesterday – it works! “I came to you nearly 4 years ago, eating 9 foods …. That conversation with you literally changed my life and started me on a path I’d never have gone down otherwise. I’m still on the journey and still sensitive to things but nowhere like I was.” That was the Healing Plan approach. No other changes.
I am also finally writing a whole new Food Intolerance factsheet (maybe book…?) to share what I have learned about it in 30 -odd years. And, of course, one big angle is the mind-body/trauma approach to get into a body. Oh, and thanks for recommending me below – twiglet zone!!
May your flakyness settle down quickly xx
Vicki montague says
Brilliant blog! I wasn’t aware of many of these people but I’m so glad I read this. I’m hoping to do some research into food intolerances and the role of thought after seeing my intolerances disappear as I understand the mind body connection. Some of these contacts could be really helpful and might be interested in what I’m doing. You’re a super star. You shine brightly in the world and inspire me with your strength. Thanks for being you xxx
Ruth Holroyd says
Thanks Vicki. Blushing and happy crying after reading this. And what a wonderful idea. You should talk to Micki Rose, and if you don’t know her I can put you in touch. She really seeded the idea in me that I needed to heal stuff emotionally before I could heal physically and it’s really helped. I mean right now my skin is melting but that’s just part of my healing journey. You can’t hurry love or TSW! Let me know if you’d like introductions. I can proudly say I know all these wonderful ladies well enough to do so.
Sabine Klaus-Carter says
Wonderful blog and list of inspiring women and I cannot tell you how proud I am that you named me alongside those leading ladies.
Oh, there is Derek from The Positive Coeliac 😉
Ruth Holroyd says
Thanks Sabine. Not sure I’ve come across Derek! Will explore. And congratulations again on your 5 ingredient bread. it really is a triumph
Ruth Holroyd says
Only Derek isn’t a woman…LOL. I need to a do a top 20 men don’t I?
clare bristow says
Hi Ruth, thank you for my mention and Sadie, exhausted on my journey home from the Evelina with April. Thankful for their care, trying and achieving to April and I on this allergy journey. We at least got bloods today 🙂 Frustrated with The NHS Trust in my area of Kent, after April’s first anaphylactic reaction NOT one medical professional contacted me to see how she was!!!! However London was on the phone the next day.
Today you remind me to keep standing up, keep on communicating and keep fighting xxx
Lots of love and thank you for being awesome
Ruth Holroyd says
Hi Clare, I really enjoyed compiling this list actually. What a lot of wonderful women there are in the allergy community, yourself included. I’m really sorry to hear about your experience. Blood tests is the first step so I hope you get the help you and April need. It really is difficult to navigate life with life threatening allergies. Keep speaking, keep talking, keep demanding the care that you deserve. Thank you! I know you support so many and I know one person who really appreciates your support.
This article made me smile so much! I am biased of course though as i am in the feature but what an incredible line up of absolutely amazing women who are trail blazing in the allergy space.
There are so many i want to now connect with that i dont already know thanks so much Ruth for introducing such awesome women and being a absolute superstar yourself.
Ruth Holroyd says
Thanks Julianne, I loved putting this one together. It took me ages because I just kept on finding more. It’s been a real education for me too. I just keep finding more too so I’m going to keep this live and keep adding. Let’s celebrate all these amazing women!