Saturday, 6 July 2013

Successful women don't have to save the world as well

I hate it when publications have pay-walls (and I am not interested whether this is a rational view or not).  Every now and then I read an article that is so good I want to share it – and if it is in The Times I can’t.  If you can grab a copy today – read Caitlin Moran in the magazine “In Feminism Quilt Club we don’t expect one woman to sew the whole thing”.

I hate to try and summarise the article as it is well worth reading but in essence she is saying that we are critical of high achieving women because they are not perfect and they don’t save the world as well.  She adds that men don’t expect other men to do everything but when a woman succeeds we load all our expectations on her and pounce on the few things she doesn’t do. 

I am reminded of the early days of Breast Cancer Campaign when I was talking to scientists to start to put together a research strategy for the charity.  One of the eminent scientists I spoke to told me that if his research was successful he will have been able to do the equivalent of adding a few bricks to the Great Wall of China. It was a sobering thought which taught two things – the first was that research is a cumulative process (hence the jigsaw piece that is the logo) and secondly – there are no instant results.  Let’s celebrate the pieces of the jigsaw our successful women do put in place not the ones they don’t.

Finally – I have no idea if Julia Gillard was a good Prime Minister of Australia or a bad one, whether I agree with her politics or not (no idea what they are) but she needs to be celebrated for this brilliant speech on sexism. I listen to it from time to time Julia Gillard on misogyny and sexism.

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