I have spent much of my career working for women’s empowerment, not as a feminist but as an equalist. Basically, I want more women to be at the top table. At the G20, the people who globally lead the world are all men except for a lone woman, Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. She is leaving after 16 years in office and her replacement is – you guessed it – another man. I am convinced that more women leaders will mean a kinder world. We don’t lead better than men, we lead differently because women are more collegiate, more keen on team work we listen more. When a woman is on a Board, it has been proved that the company prospers and though things have improved slightly, I cannot understand why there are still have so few women on FTSE Boards.
The motto for Lady Val’s Professional Women’s Network, which “cares and shares” is: “There’s a special place in hell for any woman who doesn’t help another woman” It goes without saying that I will never disparage a woman (unless or until I know for certain she is a back-stabbing witch). I have worked with women throughout my career and can safely say have never had a bad experience except once – with the women’s editor on a national daily and I’m happy to tell you I saw her several years later and she had got fat.
This Network has been going for 14 years and during this time I’ve made it my mission to connect business women in diverse professions, some of whom have increased their businesses through our icebreaker, ”How can I help you and how can you help me” It does what it says on the tin, connecting, helping and supporting. “The business I’ve made through your network has paid for all my lunches for a year” wrote one. As I have always disliked the concept of ‘ladies who lunch’ (my networkers are women who work), our events are fund raisers, currently for the Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Rehabilitation which annually awards £10,000 shared between three charities which do the most to reintegrate returning citizens (a better label than ex-offenders) back into society.
Gender equality – particularly as regards to pay – is my holy grail and I shall continue to work towards this because I must.
Read about Lady Val in our Inspirational Woman interview here.