2014 Award Winners
October 13, 2014
The 60th Women of the Year Lunch & Awards took place on Monday 14 October at the InterContinental London Hotel Park Lane. Six exceptional women received special Women of the Year Awards for inspiring others with their courage, selflessness and dedication.
For its milestone celebration, more than 450 women from all walks of life were invited to attend the Women of the Year Lunch & Awards, each handpicked for their achievements and contribution to society. Each guest is a ‘Woman of the Year’ and represents not only themselves but also the millions of extraordinary women who make a difference every day.
This year’s award winners were selected for their perseverance and courage in the face of some of the most serious issues facing women today:
Jack Monroe, Women of the Year DFS Enterprise Award
Social campaigner Jack Monroe started a blog, ‘A Girl called Jack’ discussing her experiences of raising a small child as a single mother in recession-hit Britain. What began as a political blog soon became a collection of recipes, as she creatively fed herself and her son for just £10 a week.
Her first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack, was published by Michael Joseph at Penguin in February 2014, and her second cookbook, also published by Penguin, is due out in October 2014. She is an active campaigner for social issues in Britain and currently fronts a petition with Unite, The Trussell Trust and The Mirror demanding politicians debate the causes of food-bank use and hunger in the UK.
The award recognises the astonishing strength of character shown by a young single mother, who wrote about and fought against the fear, humiliation and desperation of living in poverty to feed her son on good nutritious food for £10 a week.
Jack Monroe commented: “When I first heard the news that I’d been chosen for the Women of the Year Awards, I was completely surprised. When I think about the women I would nominate as my woman of year, they include people like Nimko Ali, Laura Richards and Ros Wynne-Jones. As someone who has the pleasure of meeting a lot of inspirational women in the work I do, I am proud and humbled to be chosen for this award. I will continue to campaign against poverty in Britain and raise awareness of cooking and eating well on a budget.”
Helen Normoyle, DFS Chief Marketing Officer said: “It is an absolute honour to be able to recognise Jack Monroe with the Women of the Year DFS Enterprise award. Jack has written about how one can survive on very little money, inspiring countless others in the process. Since then she has continued to champion the plight of people living in poverty and is a real role model for many women.”
Fahma Mohamed, Women of the Year Good Housekeeping Outstanding Young Campaigner of the Year Award
Fahma Mohamed has been volunteering with the charity Integrate Bristol since she was 14. In February this year, Fahma launched a successful Guardian backed petition to Michael Gove, former Secretary for Education, asking him to write to all schools reminding them of their duty to safeguard girls from female genital mutilation (FGM).
The award recognises an extraordinary young woman’s determination and campaigning spirit, in her commitment to warning girls across the UK and preventing the practice of FGM.
Fahma Mohamed commented: “There are so many women in the UK campaigning for what they believe in and it still hasn’t sunk in that the judges chose to give me this award. I’m excited to be named as one of the Women of the Year and to meet other campaigners at the Lunch. This award is for all the young people of Integrate Bristol who have worked so hard over the past five years – I feel it’s acknowledging the importance of eradicating FGM and protecting the rights of girls all over the world.”
Lindsay Nicholson, Editorial Director, Good Housekeeping, said: “We are delighted to honour Fahma Mohamed, who proves that you don’t need access, influence or a large staff to effect real change – just passion, drive and overwhelming determination.”
Diana Nammi, Barclays Women of the Year Award
Diana has dedicated her life to campaigning for women’s rights. Originally from Kurdistan, Iran, where she fought as a Peshmerga (freedom fighter) for women’s rights and equality, Diana now lives in the UK and in 2002 she founded the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO). This NGO provides advice, advocacy, training and counselling for women and girls from Middle Eastern and North African communities affected by “honour” based violence, forced marriage, FGM and domestic violence, while campaigning for better laws and policies.
The award celebrates Diana’s work struggling against all odds to set up an organisation to fight for Middle Eastern and North African women’s rights, and make it a force to be reckoned with in the fight against “honour” based violence, forced marriage, FGM and domestic violence.
Diana Nammi said: “I am deeply touched and honoured to be recognised as one of the Women of the Year, in the company of such inspirational women. This will shine a light on the vital work that my wonderful team, IKWRO is doing; working with survivors of “honour” based violence to enable them to recognise that they are heroines, not victims and that all shame lies with the perpetrators.”
Mark McLane, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Barclays, said: “We are very proud to honour this extraordinary woman who has worked tirelessly and often at great personal risk to fight for Middle Eastern and North African women’s rights. Despite a lack of support and an endless battle to change attitudes, she has built a brilliant organisation from the ground up and has helped countless women in the fight against ‘honour’ based violence, forced marriage, FGM and domestic violence.”
Christina Noble, Women of the Year Prudential Lifetime Achievement Award
Christina endured a childhood of loss, isolation and tragedy. In 1989 she journeyed to Vietnam and, having witnessed the poverty facing children there, founded The Christina Noble Children’s Foundation in Ho Chi Minh City, providing free medical care to over 10,000 street and abandoned children per year. She has also established the Blue Skies Ger Village in Mongolia, which provides a home to 60 street children most of whom have been orphaned or abandoned.
The award is a salute to a woman who combined extraordinary insight with determination and a visionary approach, holding the door open to the hopeless, the turbulent and the vulnerable.
Christina Noble said: “Thank you for this generous and whole hearted award, it recognises not only my efforts but also the courage and the resilience of all the children and families we have been able to help and support over the years. It has been an incredible privilege to work with them and it is an enormous privilege to be here today.”
Jackie Hunt, Chief Executive, Prudential UK and Europe said: “We are very proud to honour Christina Noble, a woman who has tirelessly raised funds to help orphans, children with special needs and their families in Vietnam. It’s wonderful to see a woman who has gone through so much in her own childhood to be able to give children in similar situations such hope.”
Beatrice Mtetwa, Women of the Year Human Rights Award
Beatrice has been jailed countless times in Zimbabwe in her fearless pursuit of free speech. Her courageous work defending individual journalists and press freedom has attracted global respect and was recently recognised by Michelle Obama at a US Department of State ceremony. She continues to be a thorn in the side of the Zimbabwean government and has challenged the results for 37 districts in the 2000 parliamentary elections. Mtetwa’s clients over the past decade have included high profile politicians, civil activists, journalists and business executives.
The award recognises Beatrice Mtetwa’s extraordinary contribution to the defence of journalists and freedom of the press.
Beatrice Mtetwa commented: “It feels incredible to win this award for doing something I enjoy and love doing. It’s a job that needs to be done for Zimbabwe and I am pleased that my intervention makes a difference to someone who otherwise would not get legal representation. I’m grateful to Women of the Year for giving me this recognition.”
Baroness Helena Kennedy commented: “We are delighted to award Beatrice Mtetwa with our Women of the Year Human Rights Award. Beatrice is a truly inspirational woman who has put her life on the line in order to defend the freedom of the press. Despite being beaten and jailed several times still continues to fight on behalf of arrested journalists and for justice in Zimbabwe. Her bravery is something to be celebrated.”
Joanne Thompson, ITV’s Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year
Joanne Thompson set up Millie’s Trust with her husband Dan in memory of their daughter Millie, who passed away when she was nine months old in October 2012 whilst at nursery. Joanne is a now a qualified first aid trainer and dedicates her time delivering paediatric first aid training with Millie Trust and raising money in order for the training to continue. She also campaigns for the law to change that requires all nursery workers to have training in paediatric first aid, as the law currently stated only one first aider is needed on site.
Joanne Thompson said: “It’s an absolute honour to win the Lorraine’s Inspirational Women of the Year Award. be nominated for this award I do what I do in memory of my daughter and sometimes I forget that other people see it as “above and beyond” – to me, I see it as working for our Millie. To be nominated for Winning this award shows me that people respect what we are trying to achieve and having the support from everyone around me gives me the extra bit of strength that I need sometimes, just when I need it.”
Lorraine Kelly said: “Joanne Thompson truly is an inspirational woman and her work with Millie’s Trust has saved lives. Her story is moving and inspiring, and this award is well-deserved. Sam and Tracey should both be proud of themselves for the incredible work they have done and for being nominated for the award. Women of the Year have shone a light on the terrific work they’re doing.”
Women from all backgrounds attended the Women of the Year Lunch & Awards, including super motorbike racer Jenny Tinmouth, pianist Mitsuko Uchida DBE, altruistic kidney donor Clare Bolitho and rock climbing champion Molly Thompson-Smith. Attendees also included Jacquie Johnston-Lynch founder of ‘The Brink’ in Liverpool; baker Sophie Ford who set up ‘Baking a Smile’ that sends custom-made cakes to seriously ill children and tractor driver Annie Chapman BEM, organiser of the women-only Tractor Road Run to raise money for Cancer Research.
There were also some familiar faces amongst the attendees, with guests including Eimear McBride, Arlene Phillips, Zandra Rhodes, Kimberley Wyatt, Fern Britton, Lorraine Kelly OBE, Barbara Windsor MBE, Harriet Walter, Fiona Wade and Jacqueline Wilson.
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, President of Women of the Year, said: “I am particularly proud to be President of Women of the Year at its 60th lunch, the first of its kind to recognise and celebrate women who have made remarkable achievements. Each attendee and every award winner is special and deserves every ounce of recognition for not only their success, but also their determination to make a real difference.”
The Women of the Year judging panel includes a variety of inspirational women including Sandi Toksvig CBE, Sue MacGregor CBE, Esther Rantzen CBE, Andrea Coleman, Dame Tessa Jowell MP, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Jane Luca, Ronke Phillips and Jasvinder Sanghera CBE.
The 2014 Women of the Year Lunch is sponsored by Barclays and the Awards sponsors include Good Housekeeping, DFS, Prudential and ITV’s Lorraine.
Women of the Year has recognised, celebrated and inspired women of all backgrounds since 1955, when it was founded by the late Lady Tony (Antonella) Lothian OBE with Lady Georgina Coleridge and Odette Hallowes.
The very first event of its kind, Lady Lothian’s aim was to bring together a wide cross-section of working women who had distinguished themselves in their careers or their communities. At a time when the concept of career networking for women was unknown, Women of the Year was, and remains, a gathering for inspirational women and an opportunity to hear the views of world-famous women on important issues.
Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, attended the Lunch, and said: ‘It is fantastic that the achievements of women are being celebrated today. I am proud to see so many women succeeding in such different areas.
‘These women are showing the valuable skills that they can offer society and I would like to congratulate everyone on their accomplishments.’
The ceremony was hosted by Sandi Toksvig and the awards were presented by Women of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award winner 2011 Lulu OBE, television and radio presenter Mel Geidroyc, journalist Yasmin Alibhai Brown, actress Lindsay Lohan, broadcaster Christiane Amanpour OBE and Lorraine Kelly, presenter of ITV’s Lorraine.