The organisation, established by hospitality skills council People 1st in 2009, also awards leading female figures in the passenger transport, travel and tourism industries in the annual presentation ceremony in June.
Sharon Glancy, founder of Women 1st, said the role of women in hospitality still needed to be highlighted and the Shine Awards represented the ideal opportunity to do just that.
"The importance of recognising and celebrating female talent and influence is more important now than ever before. The Women 1st Shine Awards present a fantastic opportunity to highlight the vital role that women play in our sector, as well as the unique approach and skills that they bring to the table," she said.
Women 1st was established as a thought leadership, training and mentoring programme to help women achieve career goals in the hospitality sector and has since helped over 700 women. Although female employees represent nearly 60 per cent of the staff in the industry, they are under-represented in board level positions with just 6 per cent of directorships filled by women.
In the passenger transport sector just 22 per cent of the workforce is female and this year, for the first time, the awards are open to women and organisations in the passenger transport industry.
Nominations are being accepted in seven categories for this year’s Women 1st Shine Awards including Woman of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Mentor of the Year, Rising Star, Small Business and Large Business.
Drake & Morgan founder Jillian Maclean was among last year’s winners taking home the Outstanding Entrepreneur prize which is also available this year. The evening will also see 25 women inducted into the Women 1st Top 100 Club, which Maclean is also a member of.
"Last year’s awards were an amazing success, and we are delighted to launch the 2012 entries to identify and recognise the unsung heroes in our vibrant industry,” Glancy said.
Maclean features in a BigHospitality video to mark International Women's Day 2012 with Angela Hartnett and Carrie Wicks and has also been involved in helping female career progression and promoting talented young women in her own company.
Natalia di Palma, marketing manager at Drake & Morgan agreed Maclean had been very deserving of the accolades she had received. "She is phenomenal. Sometimes I wish she was just my mentor rather than my managing director; only because you can be in awe of her sometimes with the way that she talks. It is certainly inspiring. To know that she has grown and progressed so much from Novus Leisure to here. She has opened up her own business, peak of the recession, and it is now flourishing to five venues with more to come and it’s all on her own," she said.
Nominations for this year's awards can be made online at people1st.co.uk/shineawards. The deadline for nominations is 4 May and the lucky winners will be awarded at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel on 19 June after the first ever Women 1st Conference.