Steve the refugee from Germany

Dame Stephanie Shirley came to England as a refugee

Founder of the first all women Tech company.

I hated the Germans

As late as about 1965 I was still avoiding going on German soil, I hated the Germans.   It took a long time but then in my early 30s I began to mature.    It was precisely  for people like me to reach out and I joined the Anglo German society.

portrait of Stephanie Shirley

photograph by Robert Taylor

I joined my mother in her trip to Vienna, which I had escaped 20 years earlier.    I looked around at the gracious avenues, ancient walls and elegant squares,… and realised in an instant that it meant absolutely nothing to me…… at that moment I felt the weight of my past vanish from my shoulders

The title of my memoir (soon to be made into a film)  is about letting go.   Let IT Go    Continue reading


Dr. Linda Summerton, CEO Immodulon.

Dr. Linda Summerton,

CEO Immodulon.
strengthening the immune system to cure pancreatic cancer

My father said “A woman is better than any man.
You go out there and show them what you can do.”

Dr.Linda Summerton

CEO Immodulon

Northern attitudes
I grew up in Sunderland, in the north of England, where it was usual for money to be  saved for the boy’s education, not the girl’s.  It’s the boy, who had the education. He was very special.   He grew up with that confidence.   But my father said:  ” A woman is better than any man.   You go out there and show them what you can do.”

My driving instructor said “What’s all this A level and university stuff, you’re going to get married and have children.”  Just typical of working class north of England.  But because of my father, I thought I could conquer the world. Continue reading

Bird in a Bi-Plane

The Plane and the Journeys

Tracey Curtis Taylor flies a Stearman bi-plane.

Re-creating historical flights of women pilots

Tracey with her plane the Stearman

Tracey prepares to take off

“Flying a vintage aeroplane and flying a light modern aircraft with a glass cockpit is as different as chalk and cheese. It is the difference different between riding a bike and being in a car. Back in 1930 there was no airspace. Amy Johnson had open skies. One of my difficulties is going through complicated airspace, international boundaries. Flying in an open cockpit, with stick and rudder is very different.
“A model light aircraft has instruments in a covered controlled environment. They are flying high riding the airwaves and can fly at night, on autopilot. I don’t have that. I have to be able to see the ground, no cloud, and must have forward vision. No night flying.

portrait amy Johnson and Tracey

Tracey in front of her heroine Amy Johnson

“It is very physical flying, a lot of noise, vibration, changing temperatures, I am flying 1000 feet above the ground, sometimes lower. I do have some modern instruments. I have a radio which Amy Johnson didn’t have. Continue reading

The Chair of the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

Interview with Vikki Heywood,
Chairman(sic) of the RSA

Chair of the RSA

(Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)

“Over my career I’ve developed  an understanding of the complexity of human relationships and the desire to engage with both your own creativity and the creativity of others, and how it enables you to think through your life and the world around you.

“As a child I had loads of role models.   My family, my mother, my father.   My grandmother on my father’s side was a business woman, widowed young, who took on running her husband’s business, which was a cotton mill in Lancashire.   She was matriarchal, very funny, quite indomitable, a force of nature.

“My other influence was books, loads of books, about groups of people.   Family groups going through amazing experiences.   They were adventure stories, a group coming together and working against adversity, now I think about it.

Vikki Heywood

The Chair of the RSA

My unifying theme is being part of a team. Continue reading

Professor Dame Athene Donald

Professor Dame Athene Donald
Champion of Women’s Equality

If I had one action to change the world,  I would worry about equality.   
I think we ignore it at our peril.   That’s not just gender,  its ethnic,  it’s  socio-economic.

The Women's Equality Champion from 2010 to 2014

The Women’s Equality Champion from 2010 to 2014

Professor Dame Athene Donald is a scientist working at

The Cavendish.  Amongst many other roles she is  Master of Churchill College at Cambridge, where she was Cambridge’s Gender Equality Champion from 2010-2014.   She also chaired the Education Committee for The Royal Society.

I don’t’ consider myself to be a feminist    I associate the word with the sort of 60s culture, man hating.    I believe in Equality absolutely, but I don’t like the word Feminist.   I know that the modern use is different, but I still feel uncomfortable with it.
Anne Marie Slaughter speaks of strong women, who did stay in the house, but they did have dreams and wanted their daughters and grand daughters to go on to great things, but if you have  a mother who is says don’t do that, you’ll break your nails, it’s hardly encouraging or supportive.

It just appalls me the messages, Maths isn’t for girls, or  T-shirts saying I’m too pretty to do maths .

Continue reading

Standing for Member of Parliament for Women’s Equality Party

  Harini Iyengar

Barrister and Candidate for for Parliament for WEP

“I wanted to be an astronaut and go up into space.”

“I wanted to be an astronaut and go up into space from the age of 9 to 16, but when I put down my options I was told I couldn’t do that, I had to choose between Arts and Science.

Because I was a very academic student, both the Science and Arts were putting pressure on me. I’ll always remember sitting on tall stools in the physics lab and the head of Physics showing me various astronomers on TV, including Patrick Moore, and I thought, “I don’t want to work with people like that, they don’t look very glamorous, and I’m going to do Arts”.   It is important to go back and remember what it is like to be a teenage girl.   I chose Arts, but I look back and think, “Might I have been in Tim Peake’s shoes”.

Continue reading

The Service Compaints Ombudsman

The Service Complaints Ombudsman

Nicola Williams

I wanted to use my my abilities with words,

both the written and the spoken word
to help further social justice, that’s my life purpose.

When the Travon Martin verdict came out in the States, I was so very very angry at the time because of the blatant unfairness.

Social justice
Nicola has been a barrister, a judge and served on regulatory bodies.  She has been the second woman Service Complaints Commissioner for the armed forces and now has  a more important role, that of the first  Service Complaints Ombudsman, to the Military. Continue reading