Twenty five years ago, when she was United States ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright coined a phrase that resonated with women around the world: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” In the current climate of #MeToo and anti-bullying, this adage is more relevant than ever. So it’s the perfect timing for a new members’ club for working women to open in London, named The AllBright, in homage to Dr Albright, on International Women’s Day (Thursday March 8). It promises to be the location where women can network, relax and boost their careers in comfort.
Set over the five storeys of a townhouse in Bloomsbury’s Rathbone Place, The AllBright includes a café, cocktail bar, library and sitting room, exhibition space and bookable meeting rooms. The bar will stock wines from all-female vineyards, while the café will offer all-day dining and evening bar snacks by female-led catering business Social Pantry. Members will be able to visit a beauty bar on the lower ground floor and attend exercise classes in the wellness area, run by Elissa Elhadj, founder of London’s Form studio.
“It’s about building a community and a supportive environment to help change the economic landscape for women, because the UK still isn’t a great place to be female in business,” says AllBright co-founder Debbie Wosskow. “Its time to try something different and to support each other in new ways, because we thrive most when we see what people like us – other women – have achieved.”
A key criterion for membership (£750 per year, plus £300 joining fee; £675 for under 27s) is active participation in the club’s programme of social events, talks, exhibitions, debates and networking meet-ups. Founder members include entrepreneur and House of Lords peer Martha Lane Fox, Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Margot James and actors Naomie Harris, Kathy Burke and Tara Fitzgerald.
The location has been chosen for the legacy of the Bloomsbury Set, and each floor is named after one of the key members – from Russian-born ballerina Lydia Lopokova to Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf and Rebecca West: each inspiring women and feminists.