Tuesday, 22 March 2011

No.10 Downing Street

I enjoyed a visit to No.10 Downing Street on Wednesday 16 March for a reception to celebrate one hundred years of International Women's Day, which was held earlier on 8 March. In latter years, this day has received more and more prominence in the UK, which is great news; women's contributions to society should be celebrated, and their struggles within that same society still need to be highlighted. This is exactly what we focussed on in the discussion panel I took part in for the Women of the World (WOW) festival last weekend.

Back at No.10, I knocked on the famous door to gain entry, which was rather exciting although they obviously know that you’re waiting because you’re on camera! Once inside, I entered a room full of amazing women ranging from Cilla Black to Rebecca Adlington; Dame Shirley Williams to Tanni Grey Thompson; beautiful women whose names are not well-known but who stand up for abused women; women serving in the armed forces, and those who make a major contribution within their field and as such, make an important difference to society. It was a wonderful event and I was honoured to attend to represent all WI members.

There was another cause for celebration on that day too – one member celebrated 45 years of WI membership who has been, and continues to be, a stalwart, persistent and successful advocate of WI campaigns. The WI's mandates are what hooked her on WI membership all those years ago – and the same thing is happening right now. Why women join the WI was a topic of discussion when newly elected Federation Chairmen and Treasurers came together at Denman College for a 'How To' workshop towards the end of last week. As with all leaders, they will put their own stamp on their time in office, and they will deal with all manner of events and situations they would never have believed possible, but above all, there is the guarantee of learning many new skills and having a great time doing so.