A Few Visible Women
October is Black History Month, but perhaps more importantly, it’s the International Day of the Girl. A very new commemoration day, 2011, but this year the face is surely Malala. She was shot for speaking out against the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education in the Swat Valley. Malala, continues to speak out. Honoured as a speaker at the UN and accompanied by Kofi Anan. Nominated but not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She will be a Pakistani politician.
There does seem to be a flurry of interest in women and girls abroad, child marriage, etc, but doesn’t mean that girls are not disadvantaged at home. In fact the recent Twitter storm over Caroline Criado-Perez , who has since closed down her twitter account, shows just how much misogyny is out there. A tiny minority, but vocal, so action is long overdue. That it should be such a momentous deal to get a woman’s face on the £10 note.
We need to look to the BBC, Channel 4 and the media to see how women are represented. The survey by WIJ (women in journalism) showed some interesting facts: http://womeninjournalism.co.uk/research/
But there are some glimmers of light: Kirsty Wark, chair of News night on Scottish Independence, had a nearly all female cast. Then in an amazing break with tradition, Dimbleby had 3 women, 3 men including himself as chair, for Question-time.
Ground breaking! even numbers on Question-time recently. Is this a new trend?
What has this to do with women on boards and women in the city? Well two things: we need more visible women in every field. But we also need women at every level in the pipe line, so that head hunters will see the excellent women.
The RSA, uncharacteristically, has appointed a woman as Chair of Trustees. More interestingly she comes from the world of theatre and had some very interesting things to say about the value of art in society, She said that artists don’t create in order to change or improve the world, but because, selfishly, they must create.
Vikki Heywood is advocating that Artists should be on boards of major companies, for greater diversity. She didn’t specify women, but artists often embody so called female characteristics of communication, empathy, creativity, collaboration. One or two examples would be David Puttnam, Mark Rylance, Neil McGregor. It’s not just about women, but less of the macho, military posturing, we get in Parliament, and in the judiciary.
But to end on a high note, just as the Pearly Queens and Kings add colour and tradition to London, so does the Lord Mayor’s procession, and this time for only the second time in 800 years, the Lord Mayor is a woman! (No, she’s not a mayoress, that’s the wife, I don’t know what Leonard will be called.)
Isn’t it interesting how the patriarchy dominate the language, even when it’s a female: mayor; fellow; chairman. That’s an essay on its own.
Let’s shout about this!! Woman Mayor 9th November. Parade through the City.
All photos should be attributed to Clive Totman.
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