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National Women’s Network - Background


The National Women's Network was established
in 1981 by Irene Harris in London. At that time there were no clubs for women in senior management, and Irene was sick of entering through the tradesmen’s entrance when she had business meetings. The day the National Women's Network was born, Irene and a companion were refused a drink at the bar of the In & Out Club, which was set up for servicemen.
Odette Hallowes
Irene’s companion was Odette Hallowes, the French wartime resistance heroine, who had received the George Cross in 1946. She had been tortured by the Gestapo and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, and her amazing story was the subject of a film Odette, made in 1950 and starring Anna Neagle. Yet her gender disqualified her from drinking without a male escort!

Determined to change this situation, Irene approached influential women in a variety of professions and the National Women's Network was born.

There have been many changes in the last 30 years, including a rebrand in 2011, but the National Women's Network ethos remains the same.

As well as the monthly meetings, the National Women's Network organises workshops, discussion groups and seminars. There are also annual events, held in prestigious venues, with distinguished guest speakers attending alongside members and their guests.

National Women's Network members receive the National e-newsletter, access to an Online Directory and invitations to meetings.


National Women’s Network – Branches in London, Birmingham, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow & Edinburgh.


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