STRIKING portraits of 100 pioneering women of the 21st century are being showcased in a new exhibition.

Photographer Anita Corbin’s images of women who have broken down barriers in a male-dominated world is on show at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery from February 15.

It is the culmination of her decade-long mission to portray modern female trailblazers, from rocker Suzi Quatro to Olympian boxer Nicola Adams, newscaster and Morecambe and Wise star turn Angela Rippon to comedian Jenny Éclair.

The Argus:

Seventies rocker Suzi Quatro was the first female bass player to become a major rock star.

She is also a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actress. She scored a string of hit singles in the 1970s that found success in the UK. She reached number one here with her singles Can The Can and Devil Gate Drive. Since her eponymous 1973 album , she has released 15 studio albums, ten compilation albums, and one live album.

In October, Suzi was in Brighton for the screening of feature documentary Suzi Q. The Duke of York’s was crammed with fans hoping to get a glimpse of rock’s first lady in the live Q and A after the film.

The rock-doc biopic, directed by Melbourne’s Liam Firmager, showed archived material of Suzi Quatro’s childhood in the Detroit suburbs, the early years performing with her sisters in The Pleasure Seekers and her breakaway to the UK and ensuing solo career.

The Argus:

Botanist Monique Simmonds is the first female director of Kew Gardens’ Innovation and Business Unit. Her research covers the uses of plants and fungi and their potential as cosmetics, food, and sources of sustainably harvested products.

She is giving a free talk at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery on February 15 entitled Change The World: Women In Science.

The event, from 10am to 5pm, is part of a series of talks and workshops to mark the exhibition’s opening.

The Argus:

Hope Powell CBE was the first woman to achieve the UEFA Pro football coaching licence.

After her successful playing career, she became the coach of the England women’s national football team.

She also coached the Great Britain women’s Olympic football team until August 2013.

She now manages Brighton and Hove Albion’s women’s team.

Anita explained all the works in the exhibition are portrait format, displayed as framed colour photographs, over a metre tall, and without glass or mounts.

She said: “I wanted the viewer to have a real visceral connection with the First Women”.

The Argus:

Felicity Aston MBE is an explorer.

In 2012 she became the first person to ski alone across the Antarctic using only personal muscle power, as well as the first woman to cross the continent alone.

She has also worked as a climate scientist, and spent three summers and two winters in Antarctica continuously at the research station.

Speaking on the subject of her exhibition, Anita Corbin said: “In a long history dominated by notable males, First Women UK asks ‘what is it about women that can inspire you?’.

“These powerful portraits of women are intended to provoke people to look beyond the exterior image and contemplate the essence of the woman it personifies.”

The Argus:

Nicola Adams is a British former professional boxer and Olympian.

She retired in 2019 with an undefeated record. As an amateur, she was the first female boxer to become an Olympic champion after winning gold at London 2012.

She was also the first double Olympic champion after securing a second gold medal at Rio in 2016.

She was the first openly LGBT person to win an Olympic boxing Gold medal after her win in 2012.

Anita said: “I hope this exhibition will motivate, encourage and empower women and men across all ages and backgrounds and help them see that it is possible to break down barriers – whether gender, social, economic, cultural or political – to unlock their full potential.”

The Argus:

Beth French was the first woman to swim the 26 miles between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

She describes water as her “great refuge” and said “I could swim before I have memories of not swimming.

“As a child, I felt compelled to head out into the ocean and just keep swimming to the horizon and beyond until I hit land.”

Explaining her inspiration for the First Women UK project, Anita said: “From ages 18 to 102 years old and in fields of expertise covering everything from beatboxing to bomb detection, I wanted to create an impressive visual archive documenting female ability and achievement, fantastic role models, in order to celebrate the impact women have had on our society over the last 100 years.”

The Argus:

Odaline De la Martinez, from Hove, was the first woman to conduct the BBC Proms.

The Cuban-American composer is a guest conductor around the world and founded the London Festival of American Music.

She is also a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.

Odaline is giving a bite-size talk about suffragette and composer Dame Ethel Smyth at Brighton Museum on March 10.

The Argus:

Former Roedean pupil Elspeth Beard is the first woman in the UK to ride a motorcycle around the world.

Elspeth, who is now a school governor, will talk at a Tales of Adventure event on May 30 at Brighton Museum.

She will speak alongside Sally Kettle, the first woman to row the Atlantic twice and Beth French, above left, the first woman to swim the 26 miles between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for an evening of stories and inspiration.

The night will include of tales of sharks, broken bodies, hurricanes and heatwaves.

The three women will share experiences of facing fears, breaking boundaries and the power of inner grit and determination.

Doors open at 6.45pm.