The Kit Cat Club, London’s premier speaker and discussion club for women, was founded in the late 80s. It has progressed from early years of connecting women to ideas and inspirations from the worlds of arts, science, politics, economics and philosophy that they would not necessarily otherwise encounter in their lives and careers, to its current incarnation as London’s most long-standing and much-loved Speakers’ Club. The Club, a not-for-profit organisation, exists simply to listen to and talk to interesting speakers, though incidentally and now more officially it has provided a useful network of contacts for its members, its speakers and particularly for women starting out in their careers.
The speakers (who can be male or female) are a mix of experts in their fields and celebrities, talking about a variety of subjects of interest to the all-female membership. The Club has no fixed political, social or cultural agenda, so the speakers are as wide-ranging as the interests of the members themselves.
Club members are very varied and include policy makers, businesswomen, writers, artists, as well as lawyers, producers, students and entrepreneurs. They are as varied as merchant bankers to mothers and prison governors to polar explorers. Most of the members are aged between 25 and 45, although the Club is open to applications from any woman from 16 to 60. Around fifty of the hundred-strong membership attend each meeting
The Club was founded in 1988 and is now run by the Alice Sherwood (Chairman), Erica Arcudi, Anna Shevkopylas, Audrey Backhouse and Claire Chaldecott.
As well as the monthly speaker meetings, the Club holds an annual party to thank its speakers and members; an event to which men can be invited as guests.