The Return

7 Jul

It’s been a while (understatement of 2014) since I’ve blogged,  as somehow,  life and a Really Big Corporate job got in the way. Lots of things have changed for me and in the wider world since I last updated here, but my interest in and passion for all matters gender related has remained steadfast and, now that the RBC job has gone away through redundancy (the fools!), I’m keen to re-discover my blogging mojo.

Since I last blogged,  here’s what’s changed for me:

  • australian_flag_3The Really Big Corporate Job: it came and it went but I made some amazing new colleagues and friends and travelled to work and speak in Australia, Singapore, Dubai, the USA and Canada. I broadened my knowledge of a whole new corporate sector (engineering) and learned and shared about diversity and inclusion across a broader plain than just gender. Specifically, because I was working for an Australian company,  I learned a lot about indigenous Australians, the history of their treatment in Australia and how things are now (not great, but better, in part thanks to Australian NGOs like CareerTrackers, with whom I was privileged to work over the last few years). I really recommend John Pilger’s book “A Secret Country” for more on the disgraceful way indigenous Australians (and particularly women) have been treated throughout history – believe me when I say that at times it has rivalled the South African apartheid model.
  • I moved house: this time last year, TLS and I put our much loved London house up for sale and, in October 2013, moved 103 miles south west to a little town where we are now building a new life in a new community. I can’t lie: it’s been hard to arrive somewhere  where you know no-one, and, because I was either working from home or away on business,  I didn’t have the ready-made office network of colleagues with whom to interact. But, we are slowly getting there and making new friends, getting to know the area and really loving our new house. I’ve just about got used to the fact that I can’t get a manicure at the top of the road anymore and I have finally discovered a very good coffee place in the local town. Skinny flat white, please.
  • I lost weight: just under 100 pounds (or c. 45 kgs if that’s your unit of choice). Also not easy but,  as with moving house,  very worthwhile and I certainly feel far happier and more healthy now. I’ve also started noticing an odd thing when I read articles and interviews with female celebrities – they ALWAYS mention what they eat in the article. Food always crops up, even in pieces published in my much loved Observer. Yesterday’s paper had a “This Much I Know” interview with former Pussy Cat Doll/X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger in which she mentioned that the things she misses about England are “… Percy Pigs and … fish and chips …”. Really? Male subjects of the weekly column never seem to feel the need to reference this sort of stuff: I wonder why?

Things that have stayed the same:

  • Still an avid reader: nearly 500 books read on my Kindle since I first acquired one;
  • Still devoted to The Observer, above comment notwithstanding;
  • Still passionate about India and determined to finish my book about women in India.

Today’s last words come from the marvellous Katharine Whitehorn,  as shared in her recent “Life Class” column in The Observer of 29th June:

“I can’t remember the name of the woman who recently said she couldn’t be a feminist because she thought men were splendid – which is just as well, or she might wish to sue me for what I feel like saying about her. How often does it have to be said: feminism is not about hating men. It’s about wanting the same rights, chances and privileges that men have – things like decent chances of promotion at work and equal pay for equal work and being taken seriously about sexual harassment.

 “It’s worth remembering not just that we once couldn’t vote but that a woman couldn’t get a mortgage without a male sponsor. Even banks have now recognised that women make not only money but their own decisions. What serious feminists worry about is the chances that girls never get, like those denied education in Pakistan or Nigeria, where a child is automatically of its father’s religion, not its mother’s.”

2 Responses to “The Return”

  1. Annette July 9, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    A welcome return to a much missed voice.

  2. Jane July 9, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    Yessss! Welcome back. Your voice is vital and illuminating. Cleo’s Clarion! Just had two gorgeous young black South African graduate ladies staying, both now qualified and raring to go: wanting to go ‘home’ and spread the word and build on the equality message. So I’ve put them onto your blog, dear!

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