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Putting women who’ve made a difference on the map!

If you had to choose, which women would you want represented on a trail map around Kenilworth?   And why?   Who would be in your hot one hundred?   Have they made a difference to your own life?   Are they someone you feel hasn’t had enough recognition for their efforts?

As part of our celebrations for Soroptimists International 100th year, club members nominated one hundred women.   President Julie and team then created a Women of Empowerment Trail around our town of Kenilworth.   Limiting the number to 100 proved quite a challenge once we got into the swing of it   And some of the nominations generated some fierce discussion.   Well what would you expect from a Club of strong minded women!    Even through Lockdowns we’ve been a lively bunch and actively encourage discussion.

So we hoped that as the general public went round, they too argued about some of the women, learnt more about some of the unsung ones, and reminded themselves of others.   Because all of the women have or are still making a difference to the lives of women and children, Nationally and Internationally.    They may have been first in their field, stood firm in the face of significant adversity, helped invent something.   The list goes on when you display 100 women from all walks of life, creed and colour.

However one comment from a six year old took us by surprise.   Looking at the representation of Malala she asked

Mum, do girls get shot at for going to school in Kenilworth?

Obviously her Mum reassured her that thankfully they do not.



The event itself got off to a great start with Kenilworth Town Mayor Peter Jones coming to help us promote and sell the Trail maps.   And thanks to Marvellous Marion, we managed to get a piece in the local newspaper.   All donations for the maps will be going to the Parenting Project.

Genius idea or what?

woman in turquoise jacket holding a sheet of paper looking at display in window



Amanda, one of our members who joined Club during Covid lockdown, had a fabulous idea.   She emailed some of the living nominations and we were thrilled by the replies.   Who knew that Cressida Dick signs herself ‘Cress’?!   And make sure you read the one from Jess Phillips’s PA – speaker at National Conference perhaps?

Jacinda Ardern

Thank you so much for your email to the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. She will appreciate knowing about the “Women of Empowerment” walking trail which your club has created around Kenilworth and very humbled to know that she is one of the women featured!
Thanks again for writing and letting us know.
Best wishes

Dinah Okeby
Office of the Prime Minister

Baroness Betty Boothroyd

I wish you well in your endeavours and thank you for thinking of me.

Baroness Betty Boothroyd

Helen Sharman  OBE

Thank you for your kind email which Helen has sent on to me. My name is Diana Boulter and I am Helen’s manager.

Helen has asked me to thank you for thinking of her, and for including her in your special walking trail around Kenilworth.

Mary Beard  DBE

Thank you for your email which I passed on to Mary – she was delighted to be one of the women chosen!

Best wishes

Debbie Whittaker
PA to Professor Mary Beard
Newnham College, Cambridge

Jess Phillips  MP

I hope you are well. Thanks for your email.

Jess would be happy to support would you be able to provide the contact details for the head of the UK branch for the Soroptimist or Public Affairs so we can work more closely with the organisation.

Best, Olenka

Jayne Senior   MBE

(From a Facebook message exchange)

Wow that is amazing! I am so honoured. How do I find out more and can I support in any way? I would like to do the walk, I will come and visit.

Cressida Dick    DBE

Many thanks for your email below and I am touched that you wrote to me and, indeed, honoured that you my name features on the trail. I will make sure to have a look when I am next in Kenilworth.

The trail sounds like a lovely idea and I do hope it inspires young people.

Good luck and best wishes to the Soroptimists.


And our hugely admired sister in Soroptimism –

Vera Baird    DBE  QC

Thank you very much for writing. That is quite a thrill for me.

When people can travel again, I should be up around your area hoping to encourage more caught up serving. It would be great to say hello then.

Do thank those Soroptimists who put me on the list, very profusely.

Best wishes


And to celebrate the success of the Trail

We mixed it with the ‘Chain Gang’!    So in no particular order of fabulousness of regalia and although we believe in gender equality, ladies first, these were

Woman holding a large bouquet of yellow and blue flowers o
President Julie – most definitely a woman of empowerment!

Group of women and 2 men in standing in a sitting room
Hobnobbing with the Chain Gang!

5 women with glasses of wine in a kitchen









President Julie hosted a marvellous lunch for them plus a few of us who had helped her with getting the Trail from concept to reality.   A large bouquet was the least we could give her for all her hard work.

So the 100 women included –

We do hope you found time to walk the Town Trail of our 100 Women of Empowerment.   Because it was meant to celebrate women past and present.   We hope it positively provoked debate!

In case you couldn’t get to see it, here are some photos taken of the various exhibitions.   You can look at them in closer detail by clicking on them as they go round.

And if you’d like to discuss / argue / dispute our choices, come and meet us at our next meeting!