Professor Susan Greenfield Neuroscientist

Professor Susan Greenfield  Research Neuroscientist

Woman of Science

“A woman takes on a job to get something done,

a man takes on a job to be someone.” 

Mike Rann Premier of South Australia

 

I was in for a science  prize in the states. When I  came second, a male colleague rang.  He  said, well you are foreign and you are a woman.  It was said in all kindness, that will explain everything.  A foreigner and a woman. Continue reading

WOW! A weekend of Women Of the World on the Southbank.

 WOW!

A weekend of Women Of the World on the Southbank.

“Quotas are essential. Quotas are a way of making sure that merit is taken into account.  We won’t get anywhere without them.  It’s been 40 years and we’re going backwards.  It’s important to know your history”

In particular the laws we put through about affirmative action, have been watered down and have become marginalized.”

Some comments from the great Australian feminist, Anne Summers, founder of Women’s Lib. in Australia 1969, and first Refuge, and who also ran the Office for Status of Women reporting directly to the PM.

A great start to the WOW ( Women of the World) weekend.  Maxine Peak was in amazing form despite having come straight from supporting the barristers’ strike in London, over the cuts to legal aid.

“I didn’t know I was making a statement”  Professor Aderin Pocock, Continue reading

The Book : Interviews with Inspirational Women

Baroness Boothroyd in the LordsIntroducing the ebook:

Interviews with Inspirational Women

The original title of this book was to be:

Backwards and in High Heels.

 

One of the greatest dancers ever, in the fifties was Fred Astair, but his partner Ginger Rogers did everything  that he did.  However, she did it backwards and in high heels.  A reflection on some of the restraints and handicaps which women often face when attaining their ambitions.

“ I started to experience (discrimination)  more from 2005, when I started to take on professional positions.  I found I had to work extra hard at certain things in comparison to my male counterparts.”  Rebecca Miller conductor.

However, a more positive title is Interviews with Inspirational Women

Although meant as a handbook for entrepreneurs, it can also act as a guide for people on the career path.

There are 3 key principles which this book espouses. Continue reading

A Lady in the Lords

A Lady in the Lords,

from a Housing Estate

There I was working with people with university degrees, and me from a housing estate.   ” I’ve always been from a housing estate.”   says Baroness Prosser.  “It was a shocking eye-opener. There were children thrown out of school, housing estates due to be pulled down, dysfunctional families.   I had lived on housing estates, but I had never realized that people like that existed. “

Baroness Prosser of Battersea

Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and a  former trade unionist she is particularly interested in work, equalities and equal pay.   Now in the Lords, Margaret Prosser is still working for peoples’ entitlement :

“The right to have equality of opportunity, not necessarily equal  outcomes, but an opportunity to fulfill your capacity. And of course it has implications for your responsibilities.”

“My husband was suddenly in a wheel chair and we were very young, we were poor, but we were the deserving poor.     I was involved with the Community Development Project, campaigning to get  Southwark to open a day centre for young people with disabilities, because he was young, we both were young, and they only had day care for geriatrics.”

It makes me smile, but the community development people asked me to come in and cover at lunch time, because I knew so much about entitlement and benefits; and they paid me £4 a week, that was the most they could pay me without me loss of benefits.”

Amy Johnson the pilot, was my role model when I was young.    I didn’t even perceive her as a woman holding her own in a man’s world.  I saw her as daring and brave and prepared.  Amy deserved a big bit of applause really”.

Martin Luther King was important: “Because of his pride; not taking it laying down, but also not showing off, just proper.  He had no-one to stand up for him, and yet he remained proud and proper in he those circumstances and at no time did he lose it.”

 The Women Sewing Machinists at Ford Motors Dagenham Continue reading

Martha Lane Fox

 

Chancellor of the Open University

 

 Congratulations to Baroness Martha Lane Fox who is appointed the new Chancellor of the Open University.   A feminist and believe in the talent and potential of women. Her article on trolls, focused on violence against women.

“At the root of the problem is the sexism, both explicit and implicit, that is still rampant in this country. That’s the bottom line. We need to flush it out.

“It would be a great shame if the debate was restricted to a cacophony of noise about social media. We really do need to keep more focus on all the women who face harmful situations and actual violence against them. The debate must be focused on both ends of the spectrum,” she said.MARTHA LANE-FOX in her office

 

A moment of Serendipity in my life was setting up Lastminute and selling at the right time. I believe strongly in the importance of the support network, but I am also aggressive in going out there and looking for people, getting Alan Leighton for the chair for three years.”

 

It is harder being a woman, but it would be churlish to say that I’ve had problems.  Some people seem not to live in the 21st century. I have been very lucky. However there was one occasion. When Brent Hoberman and I were going to set up Lastminute.com we went to see our first Venture Capitalist. I was very nervous and we did the presentation, then he looked at me and said: “What happens if you get pregnant?”   I have to say that not all VCs were like that. Now that I am Non Executive Director of Marks and Spencer, these are dynamic modern companies.

The last thing we want is tokenism.      There are hundreds of great women out there. we want broader working practices, more flexible working. But the top women in the city still are few by comparison with the men.   To believe in not enough talented women for boards and in business, is both sexist and patronizing.

The most challenging event in my life was learning to walk again.  Continue reading