On the occasion of the centenary of International Women’s Day (no, I didn't know about it before either!), I spent a happy hour dog walking this morning in the unaccustomed sunshine (hurray!) and pondering that old game of who to ask to that hypothetical dinner party - assuming, of course, that it is to be a woman only affair!

Given the parade of inspiring, and extraordinary women who have contributed so much to shaping the world that we now live in, it was always going to be a difficult choice. Probably another dog walk on another day would throw up a whole different list of subjects with me thinking, “oh no, how could I have forgotten her!”

For what it is worth , here are my current eight - an eclectic mix if ever I saw one! But boy, what a great dinner party it would be!

Elizabeth I 1533-1603 - Queen of England during a period of huge economic and social change, she . During her reign her mastery of politics and men ensured the defeat of the Spanish Armada leading Britain to become one of the world’s dominant superpowers.

Queen Elizabeth I, good subject for a history collage or photo montageCatherine the Great 1729-1796 - One of the greatest political leaders of the Eighteenth Century. Catherine the Great was not only a highly skilled political player but also played an important role in improving the lot of the Russian serfs. Her keen passion for the arts also helped to cement Russia as one of the dominant countries in Europe.

Emmeline Pankhurst 1858-1928 - A British suffragette, Emily Pankhurst dedicated her life to the promotion of women’s rights. Her life was dedicated to the cause of the advancement of rights for women meaning that she herself suffered violence, public demonstrations and hunger strikes. She died in 1928, 3 weeks before a law giving all women over 21 the right to vote.

Emmeline Pankhurst, sufragette, great subject for history collage or photo montageMalala Yousafzai - Astonishingly mature Pakistani schoolgirl who defied threats of the Taliban to campaign for the right to education for girls. She survived being shot callously in the head by the Taliban and has now become a global advocate for women’s rights, especially the right to education.

Camila Batmanghelidjh Charismatic founder of Kids Company and theplace2b, this extraordinary woman has been influential in transforming political attitudes to vulnerable inner city children. 

Camila Batmanghelidjh, campaigner & inspiration. Photo for collageTanni Grey Thompson - Hugely successful paralympic athlete, she won medals at five successive Paralmpics before retiring from sport to focus on charity work and the promotion of disabled sport and rights. 

Karen Brady - The first woman to direct a Premier League Football Club (Birmingham City) she blazed a trail for others to follow by also becoming the first woman to become MD of a UK Plc.


Now I think you will agree that would be quite an odd gathering! But certainly inspirational in the extreme!


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