275 years of ‘Inspiring Women’

Published: Thursday 20th November 2014

One hundred influential women from the world of business, science, law and social care have celebrated Coram’s 275th anniversary at an event honouring women’s role in its history

‘Inspiring Women’ was hosted by Dr Carol Homden, CBE, CEO of Coram, at the Foundling Museum on November 20th.

The event centred on a wide discussion on the role of women in philanthropy and as a force for positive change.

Among the panel was leading scientist Professor Monica Grady, political campaigner and broadcaster Baroness Oona King, Editorial Director of the Sunday Times Eleanor Mills, business woman Nicola Horlick and historian Hallie Rubenhold. (Pictured from left to right in that order.)

Inspiring Women pane

Carol Homden opened the event with the question: “As professional women in the modern world how can we effect change and champion equality for the most vulnerable children?”

Influential women

The panel reflected on their experiences as leaders in politics, business, science and the arts, discussing influential women in their lives, equality and the future for women.

Nicola Horlick commented on the important role that fathers play in inspiring self-belief in their daughters to step up as professional women.

Eleanor Mills described the importance of women’s contribution in the media area, keeping ‘a female hand on the tiller guiding the news agenda’.

Baroness Oona King stressed the importance of early intervention in helping break the cycle of deprivation and the need to educate boys and girls about equality from an early age.

Historian Hallie Rubenhold said her advice to the next generation of women was to choose their careers wisely and also to avoid projecting stereotypes onto women.  

Professor Monica Grady looked forward to a future where women and men are measured solely on their abilities as individuals, and the debate for women’s equality would no longer be needed.

Women and the Foundling Hospital

It was originally a petition in 1739 led by 21 pioneering women which helped secure the creation of the Foundling Hospital, as Coram was originally known. Without it, Thomas Coram, the charity’s founder, might not have been granted the Royal Charter from King George II, which officially established it.

Through the Hospital’s creation, tens of thousands of abandoned children’s lives were saved. The role that these women played stands out as a crucially important aspect of Coram’s history.

Coram today remains committed to its founding purposes of breaking the cycle of destitution for children.

The date November 20th is particularly resonant as it marks the 275th anniversary of the first ever meeting of the Coram Court of Governors.

Continuing our work

Last year alone Coram helped over one million children and young people across the UK through adoption, family and legal support. The charity continues to recognise and respond to the plight of children who are otherwise ‘invisible’ to society.

Those interested in attending similar events in future should please contact Rachael Kiggell, Head of Major Donors and Capital Appeal at Coram, on [email protected].

Useful links 

Watch our dazzling 275 celebratory illuminations How Queen Caroline supported Coram, on BBC's Woman's Hour

Sign our 275 anniversary supported pledge wall