Saturday, 14 November 2015

Equality for Women!

I am a feminist. A feminist is someone who believes in the equality of women in all areas of life, political, economic, cultural, personal and social rights. Equality is not a luxury it is a right for women the world over and having watched the programme recently on the Power of Women and Hilary Clinton's speech in Bejing we still have a long way to go before we achieve equality.

As a business woman myself I have to be twice as good and twice as strong as men to get the respect in business a man would receive. I am then accused of being a hard woman but you have to become tough in business to run a successful and profitable business even in todays world of so called equality.

I have 3 daughters who are all intelligent hard working and excellent at their jobs but they too experience unfairness especially when it comes to equal pay! I will continue to fight for equality for the future of my daughters and granddaughters as this is the right of all women.

I founded the Wessex Women's Network in 2003 for women in the New Forest and surrounding areas to get together once a month to share their experiences, have fun and network and build their confidence. Thanks to Jan Hoy who now books the speakers the Network is still thriving and we have enjoyed many interesting and entertaining speakers this year. One that really stands out is Maureen Rose who was the dressmaker to the Queen,  her talk was so interesting and amusing we could have listened to her all evening but we had to leave time to enjoy a 2 course dinner with wine giving the ladies time to network whilst enjoying their coffee. Our next event is our Christmas dinner on December 5th when the ladies can bring their husband, partner or a friend to relax and enjoy the evening. We hold a raffle every year and this year proceeds will go to Wessex Heartbeat. There are still places left so if you would like to come along and enjoy a delicious Christmas Dinner with likeminded women call reception on 01590 622165.

I will be attending the NatWest Everywoman awards at the Dorchester Hotel in London on Dec 2nd. This is one of my favourite events of the year when we recognise women of all ages who have achieved and often overcome adversity to do so. I have been a judge for these awards for 7 years but this year missed the judging day due to illness, I was gutted.

I attended the Women of Our Time luncheon at the Chewton Glen on Friday November 6th. This event is held annually in aid of Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington. Sally Armstrong stepped in at the last minute to be the speaker as Lindy Woodhead  who had been booked had been taken ill. Sally spoke about her time as a stewardess on Concorde, she had never done a presentation before and it was interesting, amusing and fascinating. Well done Sally. I have just started reading her book 'Vintage Champagne on the Edge of Space'  about her life on Concorde, it's well worth a read I'm really enjoying it.

Finally I was delighted and honoured to be the recipient of this year's Woman of Our Time award. It was a complete surprise and quite unexpected I will cherish the beautiful glass bowl I received and I will continue to support Oakhaven Hospice and the wonderful work they all do to look after the patients.

It will soon be Christmas [where has this year gone?] and a New Year to look forward to.


Lisa Sowards

Take care



Friday, 27 February 2015

International Women's Day 'Make it Happen'

'Make it Happen' is the theme of International Women's Day which is on Sunday 8th March. All around the world International Women's Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. I believe we still have a long way to go before we achieve equality but we must never give up and must keep fighting otherwise we will never make it happen for ourselves, our daughters, granddaughters and future generations.

At our last meeting on Thursday 26th February Sara Scott spoke to us about the history of the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. It was not only a very entertaining talk but also very interesting and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Wessex Women's Network meets every month and I have watched many of the members grow in confidence and succeed during the past ten years since I founded it. We were able to congratulate two of our members at this meeting for their recent achievements. Jane Pitt Pitts was one of the original members of the Wessex Women's Network and I have watched her develop her business Confusion Glass and grow in confidence during this time. She has just been voted a trustee of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, quite an achievement as she's the first woman to hold this position. Congratulations Jane, we are all very proud of you. Natasha Jones has just been voted Tesco Community Mum of the year 2015 for her baby Resuscitation Training that she founded after nearly losing her baby. Another great achievement and something to be so proud of.

We welcome women of all ages and all walks of life to our meetings,  it is not necessary to have a business because we are a support group for all women so as well as networking we have fun.

The next meeting is on  Tuesday March 24th when our speaker is Miriam King  She will be telling us how to make the most of our skin as we mature! Very important because to feel confident you need to feel good about yourself.

Don't forget to celebrate International Women's Day on Sunday March 8th and to wear purple. Purple symbolises justice and dignity- two values strongly associated with women's equality.

'Self confidence is the most important thing, and this comes from identifying your goals, knowing your limits and roping in all the help you can get' Shirley Conran author of Superwoman

Be confident!