WHO WE ARE

In 1955 The first Women of the Year Lunch took place in London. The brainchild of Tony (Antonella) Lothian, a journalist and 33-year-old mother of six, it honoured, equally, 500 extraordinary women. It took place at a time when Britain was radically changing as a result of the war and the Labour government that followed, and was the first of its kind. Over 60 years later this lunch remains unique in honouring and celebrating those women who fall into no other category than the sometimes silent work they do within their community and for the greater good.

About

The assembly of around 400 women who gather for Women of the Year Lunch are from all walks of life, each handpicked for their achievements and contribution to society. Each guest is regarded as a ‘Woman of the Year’ and represents not only themselves but also the millions of extraordinary women who make a difference every day. In a world which often celebrates ‘celebrity’, Women of the Year sets itself apart by honouring real achievement and diversity.

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The President

Sandi Toksvig OBE is the President of Women of the Year. A long term supporter of Women of the Year, Sandi has compered the annual Lunch & Awards for more than ten years and has also been one of the judges for the Awards.

Looking around the room at one lunch, Sandi declared, “I wish I could show this room of women at the lunch to every school girl in Britain.”

Sandi is a writer, presenter, and founder of the Women’s Equality Party. She is the chancellor of the University of Portsmouth. A passionate campaigner for equality and human rights, Sandi has led the charge for same-sex marriage in the UK, and is dedicated to celebrating and supporting women in today’s society.

Sandi said: “Having worked with the Women of the Year team for many years now, I am delighted to accept this position. It’s a great opportunity to become more involved in their outstanding work recognising and celebrating extraordinary women from across the UK.”

One of the original members of the Comedy Store Players, Sandi’s hugely successful career has spanned several decades across television and theatre. She has written numerous works for the stage including her play Bully Boy at the St James Theatre, and seasons with the Nottingham Playhouse and the New Shakespeare Company at Regents Park.

A renowned broadcaster, Sandi’s work also includes Channel 4’s Fifteen to One, Behind the Headlines, The Big One with Mike McShane, Island Race with John McCarthy, Whose Line is it Anyway? and Call My Bluff. She is also a regular on BBC Radio 4 and is currently host of The News Quiz.

Sandi is the author of more than 20 novels. Her book Hitler’s Canary, which was based upon her family’s experiences living under occupation in Denmark during the Second World War, was published in 2005, and another book for children, Girls Are Best, was published in 2009. Her latest novel Valentine Grey was released in 2012, and she also has a regular column in Good Housekeeping.

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The Chairman’s Message

“I’m honoured to be Chairman of Women of the Year and to be leading this wonderful organisation which celebrates and shines a light on extraordinary women who have achieved so much and make a difference through their courage, determination and selflessness.

And that’s what I believe is so special about Women of the Year and stands us out from the crowd – the women who are nominated to come to the lunch and those we celebrate and honour or support through the Women of the Year Foundation – we are so privileged to have this unique opportunity to make a difference and I will do my best to sustain and grow the inspiring vision that Tony Lothian set out in 1955.

Inspiration is something I think we all look to find in our lives. We all have an opportunity to play our part in encouraging other young women to achieve their full potential and improve their lives. All of us involved in Women of the Year do so as we want to be part of this important journey.”

Jane Luca, Chairman

Jane Luca is Director Public Affairs at ITV

The Nominating Council

Gail Adams
Eleanor Angel
Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE
Dame Carol Black
Amanda Bowman
Gill Carrick
Reilly Carver
Claire Cater
Lorraine Clinton
Jill Cochrane
Diane Coyne
Jaqueline Dunkley-Bent
Julie Etchingham

Teresa Graham CBE
Joanne Gubbay
Jane Hanson
Jane Houghton
Sian Jarvis
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
The Hon Diane Kenwood JP
Bishop Libby Lane
Doreen Lawrence OBE
Maureen Lipman CBE
Jane Luca
Tanya Bruce Lockhart
Sue MacGregor CBE

Leonie Mellinger
Thomasina Miers
Roz Morris
Gayle Morrison
Minna Nathoo
Rabbi The Rt Hon The Baroness Neuberger DBE
Mary Nightingale
Deborah Oliver
Nicky Oppenheimer
Jane Owen
Anne-Marie Piper
Jenny Pyper

Dame Gail Rebuck DBE CBE
Catherine Roe
Professor Nancy Rothwell
Jasvinder Sanghera
The Countess of St Andrews
Gill Sinclair
Mary Strang
Lynda Myles Till MBE
Sandi Toksvig OBE
Colleen Toomey
Lady Louise Vaughan
Virgina Wade OBE
Vanessa Williams

The Management Committee

Eleanor Angel
Gill Carrick
Reilly Carver
Claire Cater
Lorraine Clinton
Jill Cochrane
Diane Coyne
Julie Etchingham
Teresa Graham CBE
Jane Hanson
Jane Houghton
Sian Jarvis
The Hon Diane Kenwood
Jane Luca

Leonie Mellinger
Gayle Morrison
Trish Morris-Thompson
Mary Nightingale
Jane Owen
Catherine Roe
Gill Sinclair
Lynda Myles Till MBE
Sandi Toksvig OBE
Louise Vaughan
Vanessa Williams

Women of the Year Administrator: Terry Race

Board of Directors

S. Toksvig OBE, President
J. Luca, Chairman
V.J. Williams, Company Secretary
D. Coyne, Finance Director
J. Hanson
Lady L. Vaughan
L. Mellinger
Jane Owen
The Hon Diane Zitcer