Our speakers will share their journeys, previous roles how they have become to be a part of the processes that govern us and whilst in doing so, some have made history along the way. They will talk about engagement, inclusion and how people can make a difference in the world in which they live.
The Baroness Flather was born in Lahore, British India. She was educated at UCL and was called to the Bar from Inner Temple. In 1976 she was elected the first ethnic minority woman councillor in the UK followed by the first Asian woman Mayor in the country in 1986. She was elevated to the House of Lords in 1990 being the only Asian in the House. Immediately prior to her elevation to the House of Lords she was a UK delegate to The Consultative Assembly of the European Community being the only ethnic minority delegate from any member state.
She has served on numerous public bodies including the Commission for Racial Equality and she was the British Representative on the European Union Advisory Commission on Racism and Xenophobia. In the House of Lords she sat on the Select Committee on Medical Ethics (euthanasia) and the European Communities Social Affairs Committee.
Her most enduring achievement is the construction of the magnificent memorial on Constitution Hill at Hyde Park Corner. This long overdue Memorial commemorates the contribution of nearly 5 million forgotten volunteers from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean in the two World Wars.
Her passion now is for the poor women in Africa and the Indian Sub-continent and in 2010 she wrote a book entitled “Woman – Acceptable Exploitation for Profit” to show how extreme poverty can be changed by bringing these women into paid work.
Seema was elected MP for Feltham and Heston in 2011. In 2012 she served as a Member of the Justice Select Committee and as PPS to Rt. Hon Yvette Cooper MP. In 2013 became an Opposition Whip and in August 2014 was appointed as the first Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence against Women and Girls. Seema chaired the Parliamentary Labour Party Business Interest Group from 2012-2014.
Prior to being elected, Seema was a business and public service adviser working with the video game and film industries. Seema has worked across Whitehall with justice agencies and creative industries. She has over ten years’ experience with leading firms Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers working in strategy and IT development.
In 2009 Seema led the cross-Government programme Increasing Diversity in Public Appointments working with Government departments, headhunters, business and community groups. In 2007 she was shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement awards. She is also currently the Chair of the Fabian Society.
Karan Bilimoria is the founder of Cobra Beer and the Senior Non-Executive Director of the Booker Group PLC. In 2006, he was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords, and in 2014 he was installed as the seventh Chancellor of the University of Birmingham – the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain.
Amyara Face and Body Oils
Women Empowered (WE), a social initiative run by volunteers that aims to bring speakers to anybody who wishes to hear them in the hope that through the speakers’ personal stories, wisdoms learned, obstacles faced and overcome it will inspire, encourage and enable those listening to do that special thing that makes a difference to their life as they see it.
Women Empowered held its event “Engage and Enhance the Debate” on Wednesday 15th June with three distinguished speakers, The Baroness Flather JP DL FRSA Of Windsor and Maidenhead, Seema Malhotra MP for Feltham and Heston and The Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea.
Reena Ranger, Chairman and Co-founder of WE, welcomed the guests to the event. She began by explaining the inspiration for the event was unsurprisingly and arguably what is the most important vote of our lifetimes. “The outcome on June 23 could impact generations and it is up to us to fight through the noise, propaganda, mistruths and personalities to understand for ourselves whether we wish to individually remain in or out of the European Union. Although this event is not about the EU referendum, it does get you thinking about engagement and how different voices and opinions can enhance the debate. We all know that diversity and inclusion are incredibly important factors for any organisation, society, institution or community. If we argue that people are products of their environments and experiences, it is these different environments, cultures and experiences that give us our life perspectives, each having different perspectives from each other and it is this variety of thought that we need in all manner of places so that we can approach problems from different angles find solutions with empathy and innovation. That is why we must engage in and enhance the debates around us.”
The Baroness Flather of Windsor and Maidenhead took us on a whirlwind tour of her life from being a mother, then teacher and then to being elected the first ethnic minority woman councillor in the UK followed by the first Asian woman Mayor in the country in 1986. She was elevated to the House of Lords in 1990 being the only Asian in the House. She spoke about challenges she faced along the way and the racism and ignorance she had sometimes faced. She spoke about how the commonalities between people from different communities united them towards common goals and interests. She spoke about knowing and being true to oneself so that one didn’t lose sight of who they are along their life’s path even in the most difficult of circumstances. She emphasised the need for women to support each other, look after and take care of each other.
She spoke about her most enduring achievement, the construction of the magnificent memorial on Constitution Hill at Hyde Park Corner. This long overdue Memorial commemorates the contribution of nearly 5 million forgotten volunteers from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean in the two World Wars.
She spoke of the work she is currently doing with women in Africa and the Indian Sub-continent through her charity “Women Matter” and in 2010 she wrote a book entitled “Woman – Acceptable Exploitation for Profit”. Both ventures show how extreme poverty can be changed by bringing these women into paid work.
Seema Malhotra, elected MP for Feltham and Heston in 2011, spoke of her role in the House of Common and the debates that she is involved in and the sometimes surreal and extraordinary nature of her day.
She emphasised the importance of “knowing thyself” because whichever way one goes in life and the hurdles that come their way can be overcome if you do know thyself, as one will have a sense of purpose and direction that is yours and unique to you. By maintaining an honesty to yourself and knowing your purpose keeps you going and knowing your weaknesses allows you to play to your strengths.
Seema, talked about the importance of gender equality and having the same access to opportunity. She also spoke of women needing to support other women and her work setting up the Fabian Women’s Network, a political education and mentoring scheme.
She spoke about having confidence and looking at a situation with new eyes and look at why things are done in a certain way and, if needed, change them for tomorrow if there is a better way as that will keep you progressing. She said that early mastery was the key, don’t wait for tomorrow to learn or execute things as it may never come and that luck, judgement and hard work are the key. She urged the audience to be courageous and ended with reminding the guests that ideas grow and develop as you give them life and that sometimes it may take a while to find the people to help making them a reality.
WE always has a male speaker to ensure a balanced perspective and always have male attendees for a balanced discussion. The male perspective was provided by The Lord Bilimoria who is probably best known as the founder of Cobra Beer. In 2006, he was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords, and in 2014 he was installed as the seventh Chancellor of the University of Birmingham – the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain.
Lord Bilimoria started by reminding the guests that anyone, from anywhere and any background can achieve anything through the story of the President of India whose great achievement grew from very humble beginnings. He added, “The only thing that will stop you from being anywhere you want to be is your own ambition”
He spoke of his own experiences and taste preferences that lead to the inspiration and processes that lead to Cobra Beer. “Guts”, he said, “set successful entrepreneurs apart, the guts to do it in the first place and the guts to keep going when others would give up”. He spoke candidly about the challenges his business had faced and how having the right values and integrity helped him bounce back from some difficult times.
He said that leaders should be confident and not arrogant; ambitious and humble, they should be “Humbitious!” He said, “luck is created when determination meets opportunity”.
Reena ended by thanking those exhibiting at the event, Rubina Kapoor, Trouseau Jewels, Kuku B and Amyara face and body oils.
Photos from Left to Right
1. Reena Ranger welcoming guests to the event
2. The Baroness Flather JP DL FRSA addressing the guests
3. The Lord Bilimoria addressing the guests
4. Seema Malhotra MP addressing the guests
5. Q&A Session
6. Q&A Session
7. Guests at the event
8. (Back row L to R) You Me and WE Co-ordinate Dee Vara, WE Co – Founder and Chairman Reena Ranger, You Me and WE Co-ordinate Kajal Patel and Pritti Virdee
Disclaimer: Speakers may change without prior notice. All partners at the event are individual third parties and personal due diligence should be done.
Women Empowered shall not take any responsibilities for any transactions done with any third party organisation. Cancellations for refunds must be made 48 hours in advance. Refunds will be issued less PayPal charges
Please Note: Photos and video recordings may be taken at this event and used on social media sites. Anyone that do not want to be included please let the organisers know.