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?