Will the Natalie ‘Episode’ Deter Even More Women from Entering Politics?

Posted on February 25th, 2015 by

Natalie Bennett pic by Ruth Davey Look Again

I’ve got to be honest, my heart went straight out to Natalie Bennett who recently had a nightmare of a week and found herself plastered all over the media for entirely the wrong reasons. She had several interviews where she just floundered and the press went to town.

For anyone who does public speaking it’s our worst nightmare, suddenly drying and forgetting what you want to say. Your head gets full of white noise. The difference is that if it happened to me at most 200 women or so would know and it wouldn’t be a topic of debate for days afterwards (except in my head).

I admire her honesty in saying ‘I was awful’ and for apologising to her supporters.

When I interviewed Natalie, soon after she became leader of the Green Party, I asked her what advice she would give women wanting to go into politics. This was her reply:

If there are things in the world that you want to change, if you want to follow that passion and aren’t just looking for a cosy career – then do it! We need lots more people, women and men, involved in politics who aren’t from the ‘political class’. It doesn’t matter what your educational and work background is – whether you’ve been a dinner lady or a cleaner or a teacher or worked in the home  – you have knowledge and skills that politics needs. Get a good support network around you, to back you and help deal with the child care or the elder care or just the washing, recognise that it isn’t going to be easy and you are going to take some knocks and blows – such is the nature of politics, but try not to take them personally.

I sincerely hope that she’s able to depersonalise this.

Prior to politics Natalie worked as a journalist, and if you’ve read Jackie Ashley’s interview with me, you’ll know that’s no picnic, especially for women. In the general scheme of things I don’t think Natalie has had any worse treatment than a male politician would in a similar situation (given that we live in a sexist world). That said, I’m on record as despairing of the totally macho, knock about, braying in the house, adversarial type of politics which we have in the UK government. I don’t think it’s conducive to good government and I certainly don’t think it embraces gender equality in any meaningful way.

But I do hope this doesn’t deter other women from entering the political arena. I believe we will have a better system if more women were involved. I support campaigns like 50/50 Campaign for equal gender representation (click here to read more & sign the petition). And as in the ‘real world, if we had a more equal balance every politician would benefit.

RenewYou is an internationally renowned course and available across the UK, in Australia, USA, South Africa, and beyond. To see the dates for all current RenewYou Women’s Courses please click this link.

Women Are Too Emotional?

Posted on February 24th, 2015 by

I am often told that women are too emotional, especially at work. I’m not entirely sure what that means. I suspect it means that most women express and show their emotions in a way that most men don’t, hence as men are always the yardstick for acceptable behaviour at work, it’s deemed too much. What is really being said is women show different emotions than men. Interestingly I’m told it by both genders, with women themselves seeing it as a

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Jackie Ashley – Inspirational Woman

Posted on February 19th, 2015 by

Jackie Ashley has been a journalist for over 30 years working for newspapers such as The Guardian and New Statesman, as well as regular appearances for the BBC and independent television. She also has a keen interest in the Labour Party, hardly surprising given that her father was the late Jack Ashley, a much loved Labour MP who worked tirelessly for people with disability. Jackie’s latest role is to be President of Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge, a post she

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Does Your Pencil Need Sharpening?

Posted on February 17th, 2015 by

Does this sound familiar to you? You have a favourite pencil and use it day after day. It’s comfortable and you’re used to it. Slowly it gets a bit blunt. It works, but it’s not that sharp anymore and you have to press a little harder to get the same result. But you can’t find a pencil sharpener so you struggle on with it until illegibility forces you to do something. And then you have to make time to find

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Anita Anand – Inspirational Woman

Posted on February 12th, 2015 by

Anita Anand is a fast rising star in the media world and with a highly acclaimed book out at the beginning of this year, a respected writer, too. She made some time in her very busy schedule to share her thoughts with me and I know you’re going to love this interview. Be inspired! Jane: Anita, you’re very well known as a radio and TV broadcaster. But what did the young Anita want to be when she grew up? Anita:

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Why Leave the Men Out?

Posted on February 10th, 2015 by

I am a feminist and I love men. Not indiscriminately you understand, but I am by no means a man hater and I don’t blame all men for the way things are (although I do get cross when they thoughtlessly perpetuate it); I’ve coached and worked with lots of men as well as women.  I’ve even tried RenewYou as a mixed course, but it lost a lot of its effectiveness because the women were quieter with men present and shared

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