To celebrate International Women’s Day the Pink Shoe Club Roll of Honour 2012 was announced with an afternoon tea in the House of Lords, hosted by Baroness Morris of Bolton & Helene Martin Gee along with many fabulous members and friends.
Helene said: On the eve of the 101st International Women's Day, we're marking the occasion by honouring women from around the world. Last year we chose 100 remarkable women, 10 from each decade, to mark the centenary. There were many we wished to include but simply didn’t have space.
So Pink Shoe commemorates IWD by celebrating women with its Annual Roll of Honour, each year a different theme. For 2012 we chose Marvellous Mavericks. Women with chutzpah, women who truly break the mould. Interestingly, when the research team looked into Marvellous Mavericks it discovered there is no Wikipedia page for ‘Eccentric Women’ - its time to start one!
The list is international and spans history to the present day.There are many English women included – perhaps eccentricity is something we do well! We've been delighted to receive nominations of women who are not already well known.
I’m thrilled we have with us Cate McKenzie and her mother Tina McKenzie. Cate nominated her grandmother Hazel Adair (right). Truly a 'Marvellous Maverick'. Amongst other things Hazel helped invent soap operas and wrote the world’s first interracial screen kiss.
Helene went on to say that whilst celebrating eccentricity we're also celebrating genius. She quoted from Edith Sitwell: Eccentricity...is a kind of innocent pride. The genius is regarded as eccentric because s/he is unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd…
Helene explained.. “By some definitions there are 18 components, we’ve chosen to highlight three – nonconformist; curious; mischievous. These are some of the traits our Marvellous Mavericks display, and essential to success, whatever century or country we live in".
The room was in absolute silence to watch the powerful roll call of women from history. Helene then asked the group to recommend other women to include in the list. Postcards were handed out and some of those nominated added to the Roll of Honour, others will be featured in future lists.
Kenteas Brine shared thoughts on her twin sister, who sadly died last year. An extraordinary woman who touched many lives. Not only a successful sculptor and professional with a wonderful family, she set up her own charity in India. Helene said this is exactly whom we were celebrating, the woman who has many aspects to her life and lives each one with gusto!
At 3.30 we moved into the Attlee Room for a splendid afternoon tea and networking. As ever, Lady Morris was a gracious host, saying she loves Pink Shoe events, as the energy in the room is always so high and she meets so many interesting women!
Remarking that the words on the web site say it all... Pink Shoe Club connects women of influence to explore ideas, business and opportunities… An alliance of diverse, modern leaders who have a passion for their own lives and for encouraging and effecting positive change.
Lady Morris certainly displays these characteristics, and went on to say that when responsible for political candidates she saw the many differences between people, and the more engaging, broader approach women take "it’s important for us to work alongside men to achieve the greatest success".
Trish explained she had intended to wear more pink as per the dress code, and hoped her subtle salmon pink scarf was sufficient! We all said she looked lovely and it fitted the bill admirably.
Lady Morris then talked about all the great activities celebrating International Women's Day around the world and that we should spare a thought for women who weren’t able to enjoy the same freedoms and life choices we were fortunate to have.
Guests were served prosecco, and Lady Morris called for a toast. We raised our glasses to Marvellous Mavericks and to each of the women present, as well as those women unable to share our celebrations.
The event was another success for Pink Shoe and it was great to welcome some wonderful new members. Guests were reluctant to leave as they continued sharing conversation along the corridors of the House of Lords.
We were all very happy to receive a going-home gift of a scrumptious Cake Pop, created specially for Pink Shoe Club by Ling Tyler-Bennett and her new venture 'Sweet Success' yum yum!