Ditch The Guilt

Household cleaning tools on a blue wooden floor

During the same weekend that I grit my teeth when the Duchess of Cambridge spoke about mother’s guilt  ( I tried to imagine Prince William ‘fessing up to the same thing – no me neither ), I read another article in the Observer by the goddess, Mariella Frostrup about tackling her insomnia. I don’t suffer from insomnia but have many friends who do and go to incredible lengths to try and ‘fix it’.

The big reveal was on its way:  what was Mariella going to attribute it to?  Hormones, the menopause, too much sugar, not enough sex… I can’t lie, I felt deflated when her answer did come.   For while anxiety and regular insomnia are synonymous with hormonal change in a woman’s 50s, it didn’t explain the nocturnal struggles experienced by younger women. On closer inspection she discovered, a picture starts to form that’s recognisable to any women who is knee deep in the mothering, marriage and career years. Read More…

Women of the Year 2013

Dagenham Women of the Year _2702837b

The Dagenham Women are recognised some 40 years on for their efforts to stamp out the equal pay gap

Meet Britain’s true ‘It Girls’ – from Waris Dirie to those Dagenham women

As far as women’s award ceremonies go, there’s only one that stands out on the business calendar: The Women of the Year lunch. It’s one of the rare times a mix of steely Dames, Olympians, bestselling authors, FTSE 100 directors and politicians both laugh and cry in equal measure. Josephine Fairley gives us the low down from yesterday’s invite-only event.

I do feel that the Women of the Year Lunch committee is missing a trick by not going to Kleenex for sponsorship. Because if you think that Dames, Olympians, bestselling authors, überagents, FTSE 100 directors, architects, politicians and magazine editors are too steely to be moved to tears by other women’s tales of bravery, fortitude and general indomitability, you’re dead wrong.

At yesterday’s annual Intercontinental lunch, as ever, it was hankies a-go-go. As Sandi Toksvig, for the last nine years MC (and a woman who manages perfectly to walk the tightrope between hilarity and poignancy as she leads the proceedings) put it: ‘This is an event where women find ourselves laughing and crying in equal measure.’ To wit: the lunch segue-ed from Sandi’s self-deprecating jokes about being the event’s mascot (‘I am also available as a key-fob, life-size’), through to a filmed first-person recollection of Female Genital Mutilation from a Somali girl, as a preface to the presentation of this year’s WoY Campaigning Award to Waris Dirie. Read More…