Dame Zaha said she hoped that winning the Veuve Clicquot award would encourage more women to join her profession. "It’s hard to believe, but it’s still difficult for women to break the business barrier. Through perseverance and hard work, I’ve been able to do so, but it’s been a long struggle.When I started my career in architecture it was very much a male dominated industry, but in recent years I’ve seen a growing number of talented female architects join the profession and succeed," she said.
For the main award which was presented by Dame Marjorie Scardino - who won the VC back in 1998 and has just stepped down as CEO of Pearson - the architect beat finalists Dorothy Thompson, the chief executive of Drax power company, and Thea Green, chief executive of Nails Inc. As the champagne flowed like a burst pipe at Claridges last night, this year, for the first time, Veuve Clicquot made a New Generation Award, to celebrate up and coming female entrepreneurial talent in the UK.
Kathryn Parsons, a 30 year-old tech entrepreneur who founded Decoded in 2011, to "teach people everything they need to know about web coding in one day", became the first winner of the trophy. The runners up were Hayley Gait-Golding, founder of Bear Nibbles and Jenny Dawson, founder of Rubies in the Rubble, a brilliant social enterprise which takes unwanted fruit and vegetables and turns them into jams and chutneys.
Ms Parsons said her mission was to inspire more women to join technology businesses. "It’s a fact that can’t be denied: there are, quite simply, far fewer women in technology-related fields then there are men, and I want to help change this," she said.