Alison Balsom Trumpeter

Alison Balsom Trumpeter

Artistic Director of Cheltenham Festival


Baroness Helen Kennedy, recently profiled in The Times, has said.
“If you want something done get a busy woman.”

Alison Balsam is a pretty busy woman, as the new Artistic Director of the Cheltenham Festival from next year.  But the very best part of her plan is that all participants should be committed to education. Like many musicians, and educators, she is appalled at the gradual decline of music and music teaching in schools, not because it make s kids learn better, but because it enriches and excites their lives, which creates a fertile ground for good education.   Not data driven testing.

Now she is taking on the Cheltenham Festival , so we look to see great programming.   She doesn’t believe in theming the festival, because it becomes restrictive.   Just get the very best musicians. sounds like a plan.

We know that women traditionally are expected to be modest, down playing their achievements, Quiet and polite you should be, but the first sound anyone makes with a brass mouth piece is a raspberry. How very unladylike. Continue reading


That’s What She Said

Joanna Lipman

That’s What She Said

a few quotes from reviews

But as we deal with the salacious hand-up-the-skirt revelations, does the dirt of daily discrimination that has held back women’s earnings, participation and potential get shoved further under the rug, where it’s been festering for decades?

Instead, she offers a persuasive examination of the innumerable institutionalized prejudices, roadblocks and often unconscious undermining that women face in nearly every aspect of public and private life.

She starts with a sketch of just how male by default the universe is, from the standard office temperature (set to accommodate the higher metabolic rate of 40-year-old, 154-pound, suit-wearing men) and male-centric design at Apple (the iPhone 6 Plus was too big for many women’s hands and pockets) to the potentially dangerous side effects for women of the original prescribed doses of Ambien, a drug that was tested only on men, a still-common practice.

Here’s Tip 13: Legislate equal pay.


43% women employees in the bank in 2014

Westpac top Australian bank

Gail Kelly CEO


Let’s talk numbers.

Lord Davies has said he wants to see a 25% increase of women on boards. The Director of the BBC Tony Hall promises there will be at least ONE woman on every panel show, a promise he finds hard to keep. Other people are asking for an increase of 30%. The Lord Mayor feels it is just as important to have more women at all levels through an organization, and suggests ways in which more flexible working might be encouraged.

95% is the percentage of flexible workers at Australia’s Westpac bank, headed up by a woman CEO who has achieved, 43% women employees currently and intends to have 50% by 1917, for the bank’s 200 year anniversary.

As the President of the Law Society here in Britain says: “If career progression was based on pure merit, some male business leaders and law firm senior partners would never even have seen the paintings on the boardroom wall. This is disappointing for the talented women who lose out, but is also damaging to the organizations which lose what they have to offer.”
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff as outgoing chair of the Law Society 2013

It is possible that the Australian achievement is partly helped by the legislation put in place in the 1980s, Continue reading

Celebrate Windrush with Baroness Floella Benjamin

“No coloureds welcome”

was the sign that the Windrush pioneers faced in 1948 because the Government did not make it absolutely clear that the Caribbean people were invited to come to the UK to rescue the NHS, the transport system and factories after the war.”

Baroness Benjamin

Baroness Benjamin

Baroness Benjamin asked this question in the House of Lords on Jan 8th this year.

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks in June 1948 carrying Caribbean people who had been encouraged to emigrate to the United Kingdom by the Government, to come to rescue the NHS, the transport system and factories after the war.”

We are currently looking for families of Windrush who would like to share their experiences, with a view to celebrating their heritage, especially for teenagers in South London.


Global Woman

Global woman.

Juliana Ruhfus
Part two

The world needs women of vision, women whose  mission is not just narrow nationalism, but to the benefit of people everywhere.    Juliana Ruhfus describes herself as a television journalist and broadcaster who specializes in investigations and current affairs.

     “Journalists really need to globalize.   Crime globalized a long time ago, why shouldn’t we?”

Some people are warning, that  we are in pre world war II mode.   That technological progress has been so quick. that people have been left behind, and so they start going on the street or following simple solutions, that they understand, because they feel left out by the speed of the change.  Then start blaming that on “the other”.

The one thing I have learnt, if there is anything to make money off they will do it.  They will sell anything, they will sell  babies, they will steal your organs.

Continue reading

Sharon Gomez-Jones

Sharon Gomez-Jones has recently been filming in the new Mamma Mia. Although she has travelled the globe with musical theatre, Sharon is firmly rooted in her home, her community,  in  Thornton

Sharon teaches Jazz and Street dance

Singer, dancer, actor , Dance teacher in Thornton Heath

Heath where she lived as a child and trained as a dancer.

“My heart and soul are in musical theatre, acting, singing, dancing to be artistically satisfied.”

My role model as a child was my aunt, dad’s sister. Auntie Edna didn’t live here, but she was my godmother. She left India at 15 and went to the states to be a nurse, then settled in Canada, India was not for her. She became a lecturer and teacher. She had her own house, her own car, never got married, never had any children and that independence, that’s the best success story ever. I always wanted my own house, car, career. Continue reading

Professor, Lady Margaret Hodge MP. MBE.

Life is not a short sprint but a long journey

Google was fun

What makes women different.     I think the way in which we work is really different  from men.  Cooperative, inclusive.   Less about your own ego,  more about the the collaboration needed.   Women are much better at juggling a whole lot of things, at the same time, which comes comes from juggling home and work.   Continue reading