The Power Woman

TIM_5508---Wearing-mayoralty-collar-3The Lord Mayor of the City of London

Within the City, Fiona Woolf is second in precedence only to the Queen. For only the second time a woman has been Mayor. She is the 686th Mayor of London. CityEye interviewed her in her office in Mansion House.

Mansion House office of the Lord Mayor is very grand with escutcheons on the wall and a golden ormolu clock under the window. Second only to the Queen, neither intimidating nor self important.   Power woman, an electricity lawyer.   A simple black dress with a bright red jacket and a tiny gold brooch which represents the golden coach she rode in her Mayoral procession in the city.

“Its an amazing well received role as you travel around the world, and I think the best thing about it It’s always re-inventing itself so that it remains modern and relevant even thought it goes back to 1189”

I say the secret ingredient on my journey is “Get lucky and say yes”.

The Lord mayors’s amazing mother

My mother came from a poor family, and in her day you needed money to go to university.So instead she wound up a nurse at Bart’s hospital and was completely captured by all the history in the city around her, that was accessible and free. She taught herself. She became an amateur historian. She wound up writing books, papers, and articles on embroidery and tapestries. Followed by an honorary degree, and an MBE.

You can do a lot to teach yourself.

Fiona’s Frocks 13th February 2014 Mansion house

“it is also the first time this year I have worn the Lord Mayor’s equivalent of ‘Sunday Best’ – my ‘black and gold’ full State Dress! The rules rather let me off the hook in having to choose a frock….and also ensure the Mayoral plumage can compete with the brilliant and brightly-coloured birds which have flocked here to roost this evening.

In fact, if priests can be ‘defrocked’, they can also, presumably, be frocked. And we look forward to the opportunity to welcome some Bishops in frocks, to this event in the future!”

This speech is well worth reading in its entirety.

Lord Mayor on the catwalk

Speaking of frocks the Lord Mayor was on the catwalk at a fashion show in the Old bailey in a frock designed and made for her in prison

Working Chance is one of the charities supported y the Lord Mayor it supports women coming out of prison to help them get employment, as the Lord Mayor believes education and emplyment are the road to rehabilitation.

Role Models

I had several teachers who were role models, Miss Shaw had been a journalist in Moscow.   She taught us French and Russian. Her great friend was Andrei Gromyko, the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

She was a real global citizen and had been a journalist all over all over the world.   She taught us current affairs as well as languages, which was unusual in those days.

Different for girls

As child I never really knew girls were different.   I had 2 older brothers. You could say I was brought up as a tom boy.   I was given a doll’s pram for Xmas and by Boxing Day it was converted into a tank.

I didn’t really know I was a girl at all..why would you?

Two interesting incidents

In my role as Lord Mayor during last week, at a reception for the Irish President, we were introduced to a dignitary. I shook his hand first, then my husband and he said to Nicholas, I knew your predecessor, Roger Gifford.

Another one in India, my Sheriff Sir Paul Judge came with me. When we went on a visit, I introduced myself. By that time I’d been given a bouquet of flowers. I introduced Paul, as my Sheriff and the dignitary said Sir Paul, I’m delighted to meet you, took him by the arm, and walked him around, and I had to walk a step behind!

About the author

City Eye became interested in Overlooked and Overshadowed women, both in contemporary times and through out history. The former would include the women passed over for the Nobel in favour of their male colleagues. The later would be the wives of famous men, such as Mrs. Mandela. Her study of women written out of history, led her to interviews with interesting and inspirational women, (and some men). Extracts will be published in the articles. In no way is this men versus women, as to who is better. Simply that an overly macho, military, testosterone fueled environment, mainly men, needs the balancing attributes, often, though not exclusively, assigned to women: caring, conciliation, communication. Find out more: City Eye Blog ©christina

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