Women’s Voices – We’re Mad But Not Insane!

Carole Cadwalladr, Winner of 2018 Orwell Prize for Journalism

I love the BBC; I am almost permanently tuned to Radio 4. However, they are testing my patience sorely. I wrote in January about the BBC and Equal Pay and the shameful case of Carrie Gracie (You can read that here – No Equal Pay Because You Are a Girl). Carrie did finally get some justice and donated her back pay to The Fawcett Society to help others in their fight for equal pay. Hooray for her!

I am sure genuine equality at the Beeb still has a way to travel and no doubt a lot is happening behind the scenes, good and bad. They are trying, and frequently succeeding, to get a better representation of women on programmes (although, honestly, BBC, one female comic on a male dominated chat show is not good enough, you must try harder). The recent case of Carole Cadwalladr and Andrew Neil highlights just how far they still have to travel.

In case it has passed you by Carole, an independent, investigative journalist, uncovered the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which revealed just how much of our information Facebook was using and how it was using it. It has won her many friends and admirers but just as many enemies. As is ever the case, as a female, she has received misogynistic abuse, some more subtle than others. And, as throughout history, (think witch trials, for one example) to silence her, her sanity has been called into doubt. Women who challenge the established order must be mad, mustn’t they?  Do take a look at this article from Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett which sums it up nicely – First Carrie Grace, now Carole Cadwalladr: the BBC is failing women

Speak Up

I feel I’ve spent a lifetime espousing the cause of feminism and certainly had some less than flattering soubriquets myself, the kindest of which was “Meet Jane, The Office Feminist”. Now it’s my business, to empower women and help them be heard. To this end, I have a one day course for women called Speak Up. I worry from time to time about the title and if it suggests that the fault lies with women. Maybe I should rename it, perhaps call it It’s Not You, It’s Them. It is hard for women to speak up in a world which has been designed by men to suit men. Based on the principle that knowledge is power, I put together Speak Up looking at much of the research into how men and women speak differently and how one style of talk is rewarded (guess which one?) and one is simply often not heard. The aim of the day is not to teach women how to be like men but to give them confidence to challenge and make themselves heard; to reflect and consider how systems operate in their own workplace and how they can manage it. In an ideal world my course would be full of men eager to understand and change but sadly the world is far from ideal. It seemed like a good time to put on a public course so have I booked Arnos Vale in Bristol for Tuesday 26th March 2019. As usual, because it helps me to plan, there is an early bird discount of £55 off the full price. See here for more details.

There will also be a RenewYou course in London this Spring. Details to follow.

Women Writers Book Club

To those of you who are following our book club focussing on living women writers, the next one is Three Things About Elsie, by Joanna Cannon. We are meeting again on December 10th. Our inaugural meeting was lively and fun. We are a small group of 7 and what was particularly lovely was the fact that there was no talking over anyone. There was a lot of laughter and I’m looking forward to the second hugely. Thank you for the comments you shared. If you use Twitter the hash tag is #WWBC. On Twitter I’m @JaneCWoods. Happy reading!

Changing People licences experienced trainers to deliver its International RenewYou programme for women.

Read more about it here.


Posted on November 20th, 2018 by

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