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Why my International Women’s Day was really special

Had an amazing day in London on Tuesday and spoke at Accenture’s celebration of International Women’s Day.  The theme was “Pioneering Women” and with my growing collection of “First Women” portraits I am beginning to know a thing or too about that subject! I was first up on the stage and it was really exciting talking to around 350 people – mostly women of all ages and from all different jobs. Accenture told me that this was the seventh event they had organised to celebrate International Women’s Day and it was by far the best.  I was in good company with a star studded cast of women speakers including Sarah Outen, the first woman to row solo across the Indian Ocean, and coincidentally my “first woman” – hers was the first portrait that I took for the project.

We also heard Dame Julia Cleverdon, a British charity worker who served for 16 years as Chief Executive of Business in the Community and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a space scientist who spoke to the audience about getting more participation in science (and also brought her very well behaved baby along too!).  Sarah Treseder, Chief Executive of the RYA, and Gill Ryder, Director General of Leadership and People Strategy in the Cabinet were also great speakers.

I stayed in Kew and bagged another “First” in the form of the first Lord Speaker – photographed against the magnificent backdrop of Pugin’s panelled carpentry – and I sussed out a couple more lovely locations for photographing future firsts. I also managed to drop into the National Portrait Gallery and take in the press preview of a new show called Ida Kar, a not particularly well known Bohemian photographer who is described as someone “utterly at home in the world of artists and writers”. I loved what I saw – go see it!

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