Steve Shirley

Equal pay, perhaps in 400 years

The woman who tells it like it is.

Dame Steve Shirley CH

For those who don’t know who she is.

Steve Shirley came across on the kinder transport. Set up a women only software software company in 1962. Succeeded by changing Stephanie to Steve. Made millions. Made her women shareholders millionaires. Still working full time as a senior, ( you know, the burden of the aging population), giving her money away, patron of Autistica. Inspiration to all women everywhere.

The second year of gender pay gap reporting, has actually increased this year.

Steve has reissued her book Let IT Go, and is speaking at New North London Synagogue Forum in May 2019.




They didn’t need a 16 year old in France

They didn’t need a 16 year old in France

No, not Greta Thunberg, but Isabelle Kocher, CEO of Engie.

A top company director who believes in the future of renewables as a main energy source: “No one can stop the ongoing energy revolution.

“Affordable solar for all is our best option to tackle emission issues:
Renewable energies are now competitive with conventional energy sources.

“As a scientist I am guided by empirical evidence, but as a business leader, I’m always looking for ways to improve team performance.

“Consistently research shows that gender balance is critical to economic performance.”

Kocher, the first woman to run one of the top 40 companies in France,

Kocher, the first woman to run one of the top 40 companies in France, has a Masters degree in Quantum Optics and a Postgraduate Certificate in Physics



Isabelle Kocher, is the first woman to run one of the top 40 companies in France, but it was only when she was made CEO of Suez, now ENGIE a renewable energy company, that she found herself the centre of attention.





“I never really thought about gender diversity until I was appointed Chief Executive Officer of ENGIE, the only woman to lead one of France’s top 40 companies “


Continue reading

Diversity or Equality?

Diversity or Equality
Diversity. The new safe buzz word.
Whatever happened to Equality?

Diversity is a diversion:
The fierce press attention recently given to all the issues surrounding gender-fluid and trans goes to overlook, yet again, the rights of women. Equality has been achieved, equal pay is on the way. If only.

Now women must queue with men, and have men around in intimate moments, or lurking in public loos.

One would think that the last safe place was a toilet or a changing room. Suddenly women find that they should share. Even men admit that urinals and the general level of cleanliness, let alone hygiene, does not make shared toilet attractive to women. But at least the women are not campaigning about equal pay. Diversion

A 23-year-old Dutch woman has lost her appeal against a fine for urinating in a public place after the judge told her she could have used a urinal.

Diversity is divisive, as is intersectionality:

While women argue about whether they are, cis fem, or lesbian, or women of colour, or faith, the question of equal pay, equal work recognition, disappears, because since the Gender Pay gap was brought to attention it has all been solved hasn’t it?   And me-too has made the world aware of abuse against women, in Hollywood, whilst shutting all the domestic violence refuges, their funding withdrawn.

More and more communication falters as people are defined into different silos, all clamouring for attention. Divide and rule.

Diversity is a distraction:
Once you have provided a woman of colour, you tick two boxes, you only need one gay, probably a man, and you have ticked the diversity box.

Lovely and welcome though she is the new presenter on Classic fm, increases the number of women, whilst ticking another box, person of colour.

Studies of blind tests, in auditions, have shown the level of discrimination in society, in the city, and in communities. While we are told that racism is not longer an issue in the police, Baroness Lawrence, mother of Steven Lawrence tells a different story in The Voice: “British policing and society has made little progress in tackling what the (Macpherson) report described as institutional racism.”

Now instead we have the soft word diversity. The Equality Human Rights Commission has 8 different categories of discrimination against minorities, and women. After all Equality is a human right, like food and housing. No wonder the current climate wants a safer softer word.
Let’s re-instate Equality.


Joan Ryan M.P. leaves the Labour Party


Joan Ryan leaves the Labour Party

MP Joan Ryan

Joan Ryan after her members bill

Joan was interviewed by CityEye, 10 years ago.

It still makes relevant reading today.

Joan Ryan had just come from rounding up support for a 10min rule bill.  She’s proud of this as an achievement.   Although its unlikely to be picked up by the press, there are around 47,000 pensioners who could be lifted out of poverty if they apply for a rebate on their Council Tax.   To the veterans of the Royal British Legion, they perceive the word benefit as demeaning, a benefit is something they’re ashamed to apply for.   Changing the name will mean that more of them  will apply.    Despite the civil service saying it will be costly, in fact it will only eat into the 2billion of pensioners unclaimed benefit.  It may seem a small victory, but this is meat and drink to Joan Ryan MP achieving thing she’s set out to do, by hard work and with colleagues support, team players.
Irish Heritage
As a child, I did all the Irish things, Catholic schools and Irish dancing.   Mum came over as a child, Dad was an officer in the Irish Army. They met in Warrington.   Mum came from a large family and her brother died. They’d seen real poverty. They knew real life and a knowledge of what politics could do.   As Irish immigrants we were much more easily integrated. Dad had an Irish accent but mum had come over as a child and quickly lost it.  Yes, we suffered prejudice, there were orange lodges in  the North West and Birmingham.  You’re aware of these things.  In the 50s there was a lot of prejudice. Dad had lived in London for a long time. But we didn’t consider ourselves disadvantaged. The division was quite clear and with the troubles it flared up again.

My father knew that the Irish Catholics would be better off if they were not under British rule.

The most surprising/amazing event in my life, was the last general election. We had sneaking suspicions.  In 1997 knew we were going to win, take it off the conservatives, but it was nerve racking on the day.  In 2001 I felt that we’d done enough to win 2,300 votes.  You need to massively up  your game.

That women get different treatment is something you knew for a long time. Obviously being at a Catholic school, you don’t get to be altar boys, or play the leading roles.  The whole position of women’s role in the church.









Ada Lovelace

mother of computing, Ada Lovelace courtesy of Wikipaedia

portait of Ada Lovelace


Ada Lovelace

October is Black History Month, but also the month for overlooked women such as Ada Lovelace mother of computing.  Lovelace worked with Babbage on developing the first computing machine.
Two years ago,in at the  Oxford, Bodlian Library there was a small exhibition.

The after dinner speech was given by “Steve” Dame Stephanie Shirley, the only woman whose painting hangs on the hallowed walls of Balliol College Oxford.

Dame Stephanie, as a philanthropist and role model, has made massive contributions to life in Britain, not just through her initial software company providing jobs for women, but most importantly the current work she does as Patron of Autistica and raising awareness about Autism.

Dame Stephanie Shirley

Dame Stephanie Shirley
first all woman software company

A refugee herself, from Nazi Germany, she has more than repaid back the country that took her in.
“I look at it purely in an humanitarian way. 10,000 unaccompanied children were welcomed in this country in 1938/39. We are now talking about 3,000 unaccompanied children in a much wealthier Britain. I can’t understand how people can turn away from the humanitarian issue, of children, unaccompanied, milling around in Europe trying to find a safe place and I do relate to that,” said Dame Stephanie Shirley.


©2018 ionthecity.

Language is not gender neutral.

Language is not gender neutral.

Sheboard empowering girls and women

Explicitly or implicitly, certain adjectives are female, and certain adjectives male.

If you type in “women”, the app suggests words such as  “lead”, “smart” and “strong”.

The keyboard app suggests empowering words, such as changing the word “beautiful” to “happy”

Type the phrase “you look so” and it suggests words like “confident” and “smart”. “Beautiful” changes to “happy”.

It also replaces popular phrases. When you type “my little”, the keyboard suggests “adventurer” before “princess”, and if the texter commits to using the phrase, Sheboard offers solutions to make your little princess more empowered, such as  “good” and “leader”. Continue reading

Windrush or Mayflower ? Sam King

Sam King as Mayor of Southwark

Sam King as Mayor of Southwark

The Windrush Generation, who saved London Transport and the NHS, came to support industry.

My strongest memory from the 90s. leading a team working in Southwark’s failing schools was an assembly, in  a school, in Peckham, largely Afro-Carribean was addressed by a black man, followed by a security guard.

That man was Sam King, Mayor of Southwark, he had worn the real, chain of office. So he was followed by a security guard.   40 roundels in gold, each worth £1,000. I don’t remember what Sam said.   But I do remember the look on those kids’ faces.  If ever there was a role model and inspiration, here he was. It’s possibly he set me off on my path of interviewing inspirational people. People who quickly disappear from History.


When he was nominated to become Mayor of Southwark, The National Front let it be known “that if Sam King became the Mayor of Southwark “they were going to slit my throat and burn down my house. My reply was … I am not against them slitting my throat, but they must not burn down my house, because it is not a council house.”


“After about six months as a councillor, they said they were going to make me the mayor of Southwark,” he said. “When I went home, my wife was in bed and I said, ‘Mother, you know these people are silly; they said they want to make me the mayor.’ She replied, ‘Sam, you’ve got no ambition. You can be anything if you want it.’”
Sam King set up the Windrush Foundation with his friend Arthur Torrington in 1996 to celebrate the arrival of people from the Caribbean to Britain following World War Two.

Mr Torrington said Mr King believed “the ship was no different from the Mayflower” which transported English separatists to America in 1620.
“He was the one who really kept alive the importance of the Windrush”, he said.
Despite the blue plaque, Southwark has not yet named June 9th as Windrush Day, which would be a fitting tribute to Sam

Sam King, community activist and politician, born 20 February 1926; died 17 June 2016

We will be interviewing Thornton heath residents, who knew Sam or who have family members or memories of Windrush. Leave details at St. Paul’s Church for Community Plug-in Fridays 10 to 12.30.

©2017 Christina of the Green