Women in the Armed Forces (?) and Why Men Need Tampons

Tweet from Stella Creasy “This must be photoshopped?”

I couldn’t resist this glorious piece of irony above, tweeted by the Labour MP Stella Creasy. She said it must be photoshopped, mustn’t it, but what do you think? How could the armed forces improve its gender balance…? Answers on a postcard to the Ministry of Defence, please.

Speak Up

Last week I delivered both RenewYou and Speak Up at Edinburgh University for some of their staff. What an amazing group of women. I left on a real high and from the comments (and hugs) received, so did they. An interesting question we consider is how would the world of work look if it had been designed not by men, but by women, considering women’s needs only. The answers are always many and varied. One response was how differently we would treat women who are menstruating with special chill out rooms and easy access to sanitary products. Which made me think. I sometimes play the game in my head of “This is how we know we’ve got full equality”, usually when I’ve been in a women’s loo where you can’t even turn around. I always think this has been designed by a man who just stands, unzips, and pees! And is probably not carrying bags of shopping. My thoughts went a bit further this time but still have a toilet connection (what can I say, it matters, especially when you’re 63 ;>)). It made me think about how we are shamed into being silent about something that happens to virtually every woman for a significant portion of her life. How we whisper to other women that we’ve got a problem, have they got a tampon or a towel, etc. Then when we have one we slide it up our sleeve and sidle off to the loo.

Well, in my this is how we know we’ve got full equality game women would not have to whisper about periods behind their hands. They would literally twirl their tampons on their way to the loo! Whistling. No shame. And the ideal man in romantic movies would not carry a spare hanky to offer but a tampon. Imagine.

Speak Up is running at Arnos Vale in Bristol next March, on Tuesday 26th. There is an early booking discount which ends in January so do take a look. The comments post last week’s course brought a tear to my eye and so many women have told me how empowered it made them feel. One woman said,

“I think I will mark today as the day my life changed for the better”.

I can’t promise it will change your life, but if that’s what you want we’ll have a go!

Gender and Diversity

How do you feel about gender and diversity being lumped together? Strange, isn’t it, that making life fair for half the world’s population is considered being diverse? Speaks volumes. Avivah Wittenberg-Cox has plenty of practical advice for businesses on this so if you’re interested do seek out her books.

Women Writers Book Club

Our last book was Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon. I am rapidly realising that it’s tricky to share discussions without spoiling a future read for you. (Although please tweet me @JaneCWoods using #WWBC if you’d like to say more.) Suffice to say we all loved it, but then, in our various ways, we are all, or have been carers for elderly relatives and are in the helping professions. With luck we will all get old and Joanna Cannon manages to capture the frustrations and small joys of growing older and needing help. It didn’t go where we all thought it was going to, which makes it a delight. Read it. Joanna is working on her third novel now but I am hoping we will be be able to talk to her at some point.

The next book is HomeGoing by Yaa Gyasi. We’ll be discussing that in February. You can hear Yaa talking about her book here:

If the link doesn’t open for you try this instead. I’m really looking forward to reading it. Do join us and support women writers by buying their books and giving them as gifts. If you’re in any doubt that they need our support, read this post.

Via Penguin Books South Africa

Finally, I’ll be back in the new year with more posts and interviews with fabulous and inspiring women. Until then, enjoy the holidays (if you celebrate), don’t get too stressed, and carry on being womanly wonderful!

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Posted on December 13th, 2018 by

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