National Women’s Network History


National Women’s Network History – it all started in 1981

The National Women’s Network history goes as far back as 1981 when it was established 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

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. This club was set up for servicemen.

National Women's Network History, 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. Then Odette was sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp.

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! 

The National Women’s Network was born


Determined to change this situation, Irene approached influential women in a variety of professions and so it all began.

There have been many changes in the last 39 years, including a rebrand in 2011, but the National Women’s Network ethos remains the same.

Our Members continue to be in a variety of professions and we love to support and help each other.

North East Networking

Over the past few years we have had National Women’s Network groups in:-

  • Leeds
  • Birmingham
  • Ediburgh
  • Glasgow
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne

We currently just operate in the North East of England and in normal times meet at various locations.

  • Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Gateshead
  • Durham
  • Sunderland
  • Northumberland

Our meetings are a mixture of social and educational. We love to listen to our members and create events that they will benefit from. We have a meal together, a round table style discussion and a speaker.

“You always leave with that ‘Feel Good’ Factor”

COVID-19 North East Networking

Due to COVID-19 restrictions all of our meetings are being held on Zoom and discussions take place in our supportive Facebook Group.

The National Women's Network history , Zoom

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