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Oct 29

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Celebrating ‘scary’ women in the workplace

A few weeks ago Nick Clegg said something sensible. It was a bit of a shock to be honest – something about making men’s paternity leave rights the same as women’s, since you ask.

Of course I realise now this must have come from the quietly impressive Miriam Clegg who surely saw it as a gloriously simple way to prevent recruiters from wanting to choose men purely because all young women have an unequal right to disappear for months on end. After that, I should have thought equal pay will be a doddle.

This spark of brilliance, which Nick got the credit for, chimes with her other fabulous comment that it’s about time women in the workplace stop being described as ‘scary’.

I was called ‘scary’ once. OK, I’ve been called ‘scary’ a few times. As far as I can work out it’s because I’m five foot ten in my socks and have a penchant for high heels.  I’m assuming it’s the height thing because the blokes who call me ‘scary’ are invariably short.

I refuse to accept the notion that it’s not the shoes but because I try to do my job competently, part of which is assuming I’m just as entitled to an opinion as those funny little men. In other words that I can state my case without having to ameliorate the shock of a woman having an original thought by presenting it with a self-deprecating simper and a hair toss.  But it can’t be that, surely?

It IS????

Well. for goodness sake grow up you sad, sorry, inadequate, flat headed, troglodyte, misogynistic little boys…

OK, that last little bit might have been mildly scary. Sorry.

Being brave enough to say what you really feel – even when your husband is a politician – is the theme in my novel Politically Incorrect. My heroine Emily learns a lot about the importance of being true to yourself. If she had been a bit more like Miriam Clegg at the beginning… well, it would have made for a pretty short book.

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