Barclays, 1 Churchill Place, E14 5HP 23 to 25 February 2016
Supporting: He for She
In partnership with: IWF UK Susan Young & Curator: Simona Fionda
Sponsor: Barclays WIN London
The curator writes: From 23 to 25 February Barclays was the proud host of the Portrayed! exhibition, a series of 16 portraits created in 2015 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the International Women’s Forum (IWF) UK. The portraits are of its most inspiring women, its 4 founders and first 12 chairs.
The portraits include Jean Denton, champion racing driver and the first woman to hold a ministerial post at the Northern Ireland office; Barbara Hosking, former speechwriter for Harold Wilson; Rosalind Gilmore, private secretary to five Cabinet Ministers; and Katharine Whitehorn, Observer columnist.
We were extremely proud to welcome Mary Baker back to Barclays. Mary, one of the IWF UK founders, was also the first female Director on the Barclays Board from 1983 to 2000. She was the keynote speakers at the private viewing on 23 February and left a lasting impression on all employees and guests [shown] an extract from an internal 1991 video in which Mary talked about female representation at Barclays and stated “We doubled the numbers of women in management grades in the last 5 years; we are
up to just over 11% now. […] If we can double them again in the next 5 years and we end up with 20% in management grades, we are beginning to see the sort of critical mass which should be really hammering on the doors of the boardrooms to senior executive positions.”
Local schoolgirls find inspiration for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award
The exhibition was visited by six girls from the Isle of Dogs George Green’s School on 24 February. All six girls are currently working towards their Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze award and will be drawing on their experience of Portrayed! to help them to shape their own International Women’s Day event which they will then write up and present as evidence towards their award. Two of the girls are part of the ThinkForward programme initiative (Barclays is a founding sponsor and active investor), a targeted intervention looking to prevent young people becoming NEET (not in employment, education or training) at 16.
The girls “felt like VIPs, and were amazed that people would take the trouble to welcome them with such genuine warmth.” They found the portraits accessible in a way they hadn’t expected. They felt connection with the sitters, and felt these would be people they could talk to. They also felt inspired to create work of their own. They started to think about making a collage, featuring women who have influenced them personally, to display at their own International Women’s Day event at school.
‘We are very proud to be associated with Barclays support for the HeforShe campaign,’ said Stella Tooth, The Lots Road Group.
“The WIN event featuring Portrayed! was beautifully organised and hosted by Barclays. One knows when an evening has really engaged guests when a formidable crowd is still there at the close of the evening,” said Susan Young, immediate past chair of IWF UK who sponsored the creation of this collection.
“I do want to thank you for all the effort you and the bank as a whole put in to setting up such a great exhibition and particularly for Mike Roemer’s clear commitment to the HeforShe campaign. […] The way you and your group carried it out was exemplary, and I so much enjoyed the chance to meet up with so many enthusiastic and talented members of the bank and to be aware of the work that is being done to enhance the equality opportunities for women in particular.’ said Mary Baker, the first female Director of Barclays Bank UK and the first female Director of Barclays PLC
Photo: Mary Baker by Dario of Gammeren photography