Who we are
Women of the Year is a not-for-profit organisation run by a dedicated committee of volunteers, whose aim is to continue the legacy of Tony Lothian by recognising, celebrating, and advancing the achievements of women throughout the United Kingdom and around the world.
Whether that’s through celebrating the extraordinary accomplishments of the women chosen as invitees to the annual awards lunch, promoting ground-breaking thinking at the Women of the Year lecture, sharing ideas within, and hosting inspiring talks for, our alumnae network, or supporting the next generation of women through our Foundation, we are fiercely focused on the values and commitments that underpin Women of the Year.
The 450 women who gather for the Women of the Year Lunch each year are from all walks of life and each is carefully handpicked in recognition of their achievements and contributions to society and the wider world. Central to our ethos is that every guest is regarded and honoured as a “Woman of the Year”. This spirit of celebrating the ‘extraordinary ordinary’ women, whose determination, bravery, skill, passion and spirit often go unnoticed, is what sets the Women of the Year lunch apart from other, more celebrity focused, events.
In the 1950’s, Tony Lothian saw how many opportunities there were for men, especially those in powerful positions, to meet together to formulate ideas, share experience, resolve challenges and negotiate. Yet nothing like that existed for women. Her aim was simple but ambitious: to create the same space and opportunities for women. She was quite clear, though, that what she wanted wasn’t to elevate the already famous, but rather to recognise the, what she called, ‘special’ women who she believed ‘made the world go round’ and to give them the opportunity, not only to celebrate, but also learn from and support, each other.
Led by award-winning television anchor, Julie Etchingham, as our President, and Lady Louise Vaughan as The Chair, Women of the Year is a broad committee of women who are remarkable in their own right. They each give their time voluntarily to the organisation to facilitate the production and continued delivery of the lunch and awards, lecture, alumnae club and Foundation.