The Women of the Year Lunch offers an exceptional opportunity to honour the most outstanding women from all over the UK, to recognise and celebrate their achievements.


Since 2001, we have supported a number of disadvantaged women worldwide to encourage and help them in business ventures and improve their lives through mentoring and training.


Our alumnae of extraordinary women, come together to share and celebrate exceptional minds through the experience of visionary individuals.


Women of the Year has recognised, celebrated and inspired women of all backgrounds for over 60 years and continues to shine a light on extraordinary women through an annual lunch, lecture and on-going foundation work.

Alumnae Newsletter

All previous guests of the Women of the Year Lunch are invited to register as a member of the newly launched Alumnae Club. Please click below for further details.

In this breakthrough year for women – 100 years since Votes for Women – best wishes for International Women’s Day to all Women of the Year, past and present, nominees and alumni.



New team at the top for Women of the Year

Women of the Year have announced its new Chair, Catherine Roe (UK CEO of global food service firm Elior) and new President, ITV journalist and news anchor, Julie Etchingham.

Catherine Roe and Julie Etchingham are the new faces at the helm of Women of the Year, which for more than sixty years has celebrated women’s achievements, as a national charity (through the Women of the Year Foundation) and premier lunch event, to highlight women’s contributions in the UK and internationally.

Catherine and Julie take over from former chair Jane Luca, Director of Public Affairs at ITV and ex-president, Sandi Toksvig OBE, TV presenter and comedian.

Women of the Year was founded in 1955 by the late journalist Tony Lothian (Marchioness of Lothian) because she wanted to highlight and celebrate the many and varied achievements of women.

Since then, it has gone from strength to strength as a lunch and as a movement to promote women’s achievements. Each year, over 400 women are recognised at the annual Women of the Year lunch, attended in 2017 by Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, and which honoured, amongst others, Dany Cotton, London’s first female fire chief.

The lunch is supported by Barclays, the Prudential, Good Housekeeping and ITV’s Lorraine programme where the viewers of Lorraine Kelly’s popular morning show vote for their own ‘extraordinary ordinary’ winner. ‘Women of the Year’ also developed a charitable foundation, funding global projects to benefit women and has a thriving programme of events throughout the year.

The Women of the Year Lunch and Awards is one of the most significant gatherings of extraordinary women in the world. Strictly invitation only – every single guest is ‘handpicked’ in recognition of their personal contribution to society. From shepherdess to scientist, foster parent to foreign correspondent, activist to artist – being recognised as a ‘Woman of the Year’ is a unique accolade.

Of her new role, Julie said: “I’m delighted to take up the baton from Sandi Toksvig to become President of Women of the Year.  In a year which marks a 100 years since women got the vote, and with women’s voices being raised ever more loudly around the world in the bid for equality and fairness – there couldn’t be a more exciting time to do it. I’m determined that Women of the Year will allow those voices to ring out ever more clearly – and from women of every background in Britain.”

Chair, Catherine Roe, added: I am honoured and excited to take on chairing Women of the Year. The lunch is a very special event and the women who attend are incredible and inspiring. In chairing the management committee, I am also looking forward to working with volunteers who share a commitment to celebrating women’s achievements from all walks of life, something which is very important to me personally, particularly in providing the role models for young women just starting out to have no limits, that everything and anything is possible’.

The 2018 lunch is Monday 15 October at the InterContinental Hotel, Park Lane, London W1


Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall speech transcript is
available via Clarence House twitter:

Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year Award:

Winner, Alex Eades said: “This is for my daughter Charlotte, she fought a long and hard battle and the last six weeks of her life took everything from her. She was paralysed, she lost the ability to walk and to talk. She finally gave in to her tumour on 5th February, she was told she was going to die that night and a subsequent three more times and she went on until 24th February. She was my best friend, this is for her.”

Good Housekeeping Women of the Year International Award: The White Helmets

Anna Nolan Director of the Syria Campaign: “The video we just watched is from Masaa, a volunteer from Aleppo. Before the revolution, Masaa was a student, now she is one of 375 volunteers saving lives in Syria. The White Helmets have asked me on their behalf to thank Women of the Year for this honour, and they’ve also asked me to share their motto with you all today. It’s taken from the Quran, and it says, ‘To save one life is to save all of humanity’. The White Helmets have saved more than 97,000 lives around the world. These brave women remind us that we’re all part of something greater. And even in the darkest of wars, love will always win.”

Prudential Women of the Year Leadership AwardDany Cotton

“Well, what a fabulous group of women in front of me. What an amazing, amazing lunch. I’m so very honoured to be given this award, and thank you so much to Women of the Year for honouring me in this way. This really, really isn’t about me, this is about the men and the women of the London Fire Brigade. This is about the most fabulous team that I have the most pride to lead. Every day I look at myself and I am just so lucky to be the commissioner of the London Fire Brigade.

And whilst this year has been a really tough year, it’s not a year you’d pick to start your new job. Things kept happening, and then some more things happened, and you start thinking to yourself, ‘when will it ever be normal’, and I think now is normal. This is the future we have but the men and women of our emergency services are absolutely fabulous. We go running into situations that other people would run away from.

One of the things I have launched today is a new campaign called Firefighting Sexism, and it’s a simple campaign, it’s just about challenging people to stop using the word firemen. I’ve been so inspired to be here and I feel so very honoured to be here.”

Barclays Women of the Year Award: Manchester Emergency and Medical Services

Jane Luca, Chair of the Women of the Year: “As a Mancunian, I am not surprised to hear so many stories of strong women. After all, Manchester was the birth place of the woman who changed all our lives, she was of course, Emmeline Pankhurst.

Having recognised the work of the fire services, it is only right that we recognise the tens of thousands of women working in our other emergency services. So we have asked some of the women who responded to the Manchester bombing to accept our award on behalf of each and every woman serving in our Police, Ambulance and Health services up and down the United Kingdom.”


Valerie Vaz: 

“Finally, it was great to attend the Women of the Year lunch last Monday with other hon. Members. The winners of the awards are truly deserving. The leadership award went to Dany Cotton, the first female commissioner of the London fire brigade, for her leadership in response to the Grenfell Tower fire. The international award went to the White Helmets, as a favoured charity of our dear colleague Jo Cox. It says: “To save one life is to save all humanity”.

The main award went to the women of the emergency and medical services following the Manchester bombing—doctors, nurses, paramedics, the deputy chief constable and community police officers. I know the whole House will join me in acknowledging the work that those women have done in difficult times, as we all work towards a more equal society.”

Andrea Leadsom:

“May I start by absolutely sharing in the hon. Lady’s praise for all those amazing women who won awards in the Women of the Year award ceremony this week? Our thanks and gratitude go to all those who contributed in the response to the appalling Grenfell Tower tragedy and those who rushed out to help after the Manchester bombing. I completely share her awe at what they have achieved.”


The women of the year awards pay tribute to emergency and medical services here and abroad

Manchester Emergency and Medical Services, The White Helmets and The Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Dany Cotton, are among those honoured at the star-studded event, which was attended by The Duchess of Cornwall

Barclays Women of the Year Award: Women of the Manchester Emergency and Medical Services

Prudential Women of the Year Leadership Award: Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade

Good Housekeeping Women of the Year International Award: The White Helmets

ITV’s Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year Award: Alex Eades

The 2017 Women of the Year Awards pay tribute to the emergency response teams, both here and abroad. During the ceremony and lunch at the InterContinental London Hotel, Mayfair, the winners were recognised for their selfless professionalism and heroism.

Women of the Year president, Sandi Toksvig hosted a group of 400 specially invited women, all honoured as a ‘2017 Woman of Achievement;’ who were selected for their resilience, resourcefulness, and selfless actions.

The Barclays Women of the Year Award was presented to Naomi Davis, Assistant Chief Constable Debbie Ford, PC Lauren Moore, Cath Daley, Vicky Wijeratne, Laura Prescott, Lea Vaughan and Shoba Manesh on behalf of the Manchester Emergency and Medical Services. When the bomb exploded in the Manchester Arena the women of the Emergency and Medical Services immediately galvanised into action. Everybody, from ordinary citizens to members of the emergency services and health care professionals behaved in ways that were way beyond the call of duty.

These women have been chosen by their own organisations to accept the award on behalf of each and every woman serving in our police, ambulance and health services up and down the United Kingdom. The award was presented by The Duchess of Cornwall.

Prudential Women of the Year Leadership Award was awarded to the Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Dany Cotton, in recognition of her incredible bravery and skill within hugely challenging circumstances, especially in recent times. Her positivity and openness when she talked about her own mental health challenges were very aspirational and has resulted in many more men and women feeling able to talk about their own issues.

The award was presented by Julie Etchingham, presenter and reporter for ITV News.

The world-renowned volunteer search and rescue group, The White Helmets won the GoodHousekeeping Women of the Year International Award, recognised for their unrelenting determination to helping those injured in wars and conflict situations. The heroic women, who are trained in medical care as well as search and rescue work and have so far helped thousands of survivors of the Syrian Civil War. The award was collected on behalf of the White Helmets by Anna Nolan, Director of The Syria Campaign.

Alex Eades was named as ITV Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year Award winner. Alex, 57, was acknowledged for her fundraising work following the death of 19-year-old daughter Charlotte in 2016. Charlotte was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer in 2015 and documented her journey on Youtube until she lost her battle. Despite her tragic loss, Alex has raised enough money to fund research into this type of cancer for three years. Alex continues to fight in Charlottes name, and to help others affected by the disease. The award was presented by Christine Lampard.

Sandi ToksvigPresident of Women of the Year, said: “For over 60 years, Women of the Year has proudly recognised and celebrated the achievements of some of the world’s most incredible and bravest women. These women range from the super famous to unsung heroines who are the backbones of charities, emergency and medical services, industries and indeed every profession possible. The remarkable women who make up the attendees and winners at this year’s Lunch are being recognised for their work making the world a better place.”

Jane Luca, Chair of Women of the Year, adds: “I am extremely proud of the 2017 Women of the Year Award winners and all 400 women of achievement who joined us today. This year’s ceremony recognised and celebrated the bravery of women from our emergency, medical and rescue services both in the UK and internationally in what has been a challenging year. The stories of their heroism are endless.

As I step down and look back on my four years as Chair of Women of the Year, I am very proud that we have continued to shine a light on extraordinary and amazing women and this year is no exception.”

Sponsored by Barclays, Prudential, Good Housekeeping and ITV’s Lorraine, the event, which is in its 62ndyear was held at the Intercontinental London Park Lane. Every woman who is invited to the event has achieved something extraordinary in whatever walk of life she comes from. The lunch is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate their bravery, determination, compassion and success.

ITV Lorraine viewers voted for their Inspirational Woman of the Year by a telephone vote.

In addition, there were many familiar faces, with guests including Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall,Arlene Phillips CBE, Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE, Christine Lampard, Esther Rantzen DBE, Eve Pollard OBE, Julie Etchingham, Karren Brady CBE, Kathy Lette, Lliana Bird, Louise Minchin, Meera Syal, Natalie Dormer, Prue Leith, Ronke Phillips, Sandi Toksvig OBE, Shirley Ballas, Sophie Ward and Sue MacGregor CBE.


For further information, images and interview requests please contact:

Hep Kwakye-Saka / Sal Porter


T: 0203 003 6482 / 6369

M: 07889 185 831/ 07703 536 399




Barclays is an international financial services provider engaged in personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management with an extensive presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Barclays’s purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way.

With 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 130,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website

Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping, published by Hearst Magazines UK, is the UK’s leading women’s lifestyle magazine and consumer champion, combining an unrivalled authority and consistent quality, value and entertainment for more than 93 years.

Core to the brand is the Good Housekeeping Institute, a unique consumer research facility where GH experts carry out independent testing on consumer goods, providing Tried and Tested advice. Products passing our stringent tests are able to use the GHI Approved Logo. The Institute is also home to our Cookery School.

Brand platforms include digital editions, which incorporates the trusted GHI review website, the best-selling Christmas Collection magazine, branded cookware, Good Housekeeping cookery books, and the Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended Scheme uniting GHI expertise with reader opinions.

Edited by Michelle Hather, the magazine has a combined print and digital circulation of 419,575. Group Publishing Director is Judith Secombe.

ITV’s Lorraine

Lorraine is broadcast Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 9.25am on ITV. One of ITV’s most popular daytime shows, Lorraine features an engaging mix of entertainment guests, human interest features, and the stories of the day.


Prudential plc is incorporated in England and Wales and is one of the world’s leading financial services groups. Prudential has been in existence for more than 167 years and provides insurance and financial services through its subsidiaries and affiliates throughout the world. It has around 24 million insurance customers in the UK, US, Asia and Africa, and more than £496 billion of assets under management (as at 31 December 2014). We are listed on stock exchanges in London, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York.

We provide protection and savings opportunities to our customers, social and economic benefits to the communities in which we operate, jobs and opportunities to our employees and financial benefits for our investors.

At Prudential we are committed to providing an environment with equal opportunities, career potential and reward that means we have the best people to deliver our strategy.