Where is Felicity right now...?

Women of the Year lunch 2015

Yesterday I was invited to join the 2015 Women of the Year lunch - an annual event held by the Women of the Year Foundation to highlight the achievements and struggles of women in all sections of society and across all industries.

The room was full of so many incredible women, all of whom have excelled in their own fields, such as Wing Commander Nikki Thomas (first woman to command an RAF fast jet squadron), politician Shirley Williams, actress Nicole Kidman, Reverend Libby Lane (first female Church of England bishop) and, one of my personal heroines, Joy Lofthouse who flew Spitfires during WWII.

Among the award winners was Dame Stephanie Shirley who started her own software company in 1962 which became a vast concern valued at £1.2 billion by the time she retired. Calling herself 'Steve' at first in order to be taken seriously, she made a point of only employing women in her company - right up until the Gender Equlity Act of 1975 forced her to do otherwise.

But the story that struck me most was that of another award winner, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. In 1967 she discovered a new type of star - a Pulsar - but despite the importance of this discovery it was her male colleagues that were awarded Nobel Prizes. In her acceptance speech she said, 'The world is unfair but it is how we respond to that unfairness that is important.'