This week I had the privilege of speaking with 7 year olds in Bristol as part of Enterprise week. Of all the meetings and events I had planned, this one was one I was looking forward to most.
There was something warm and fuzzy about that 2 PM slot on a Tuesday afternoon. And then reality hit and the pressure of 30 pairs of eyes piercing me through gave me unexpected heart palpitations.
We spoke about what it means to be an entrepreneur and how my work is around understanding the gender pay gap. The children were astounded. There is a gender pay gap? Why? Here are the three lessons I’ve learned from them while we discussed the issue.
- Never underestimate the power of a 7 year old to change a discussion about the gender pay gap into a conversation about fish and chips.
- In roles that are visible, gender stereotypes are alive and kicking. (ie. Very few girls thought that when they grow up they could be working in construction.)
- Men don’t allow women to work in construction because a brick could hit them on the head.
- It is unfair that some roles are valued less while they contribute a lot (ie. mums)
- The gender pay gap could be closed through a wrestling game, and may the best one win.
- Girls can build airplanes, because when more people – boys and girls – think about something together, they come up with a much better ideas.
- These young 7 year olds will live in a world with no pay gap. They will not allow it.
When I walked in, I was terrified. When I walked out (besides being thankful for still being alive) I was hopeful. The future is bright – the future has no pay gap.
With Gapsquare, we lead the development of technologies that will close the gender pay gap.
Last week it was the Brit Awards and, even though I am approaching forty, I still quite like to watch the awards. Having a teenage daughter also means it pays for me to be ‘down with the kids’ and know what’s going on in music. And upon watching the show it became apparent that nothing much is going on in the world of pop except the over sexualisation of women.
Not long after the programme had started, and somewhat before the watershed, a partially clad model draped herself over one of the presenters with nothing but stars covering her nipples and little else covering her lady parts. Continue reading Dear World of Pop
Your recent, and if I may say so, ridiculous decision to not make sex education compulsory has somehow not driven the headlines recently, as it should have.
In fact, anyone who doesn’t regularly delve into the world of the media and its sensationalist portrayal of the news and daily scaremongering might have missed it altogether. Which is a shame. It should’ve caused uproar, not least because it is not a wise decision, but because the women in parliament who suggested it – Nicky Morgan Secretary of State for Education being one of them – and gave such a good argument as to why sex education should indeed be compulsory, were not exactly taken seriously. Continue reading Dear David Cameron…
At the moment I am having an issue with stigma surrounding mental illnesses, and whether telling our personal stories is an effective way of reaching out and raising awareness.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m passionate about raising awareness of perinatal mental illnesses having suffered post-natal depression myself, but I am beginning to question whether it helps or hinders. Continue reading Dear Story-teller
Today is Time to Talk day, where those of us that have suffered from mental ill health reach out and talk about our experiences. Where we encourage others to do the same without fear or shame. I thought long and hard about what to write. And a thank you letter to everyone who supported me when I was ill was what made most sense. And if you know someone who is depressed then maybe this will help you both. Two birds and all that…
Thank you for not judging me. But for listening, and nodding without telling me I was being silly. You never tried to fix me. You never tried to change me. You knew I was ill and you knew I’d get better. Even when I doubted I even wanted to. Continue reading Dear you… THANK YOU!
Ever heard of the so-called ‘pink tax’ especially for ladies? Aren’t we, as a gender, so lucky that they’ve thought of a tax just for us? And in what is, of course, every woman’s favourite colour, right?
Um, let me think about this….no!
In case you don’t know what I am talking about, the pink tax refers to the extra costs we, as women, are subjected to. And subjected to, some would say, from the day we are born. Girls clothes often cost more than boys clothes. As do our haircuts. And beauty products. And dry cleaning. Continue reading On the pink tax
There was an article in yesterday’s Guardian that I am sure would’ve astounded many. Others, however, would’ve empathised that indeed some cannot do right for doing wrong.
The article in question was about a schoolboy who made an unfortunate spelling mistake. The ten-year-old Muslim boy intended to write that he lived in a terraced house – however, due to his incorrect spelling, it read that he lived in a terrorist house. Had a middle class white boy have made such a mistake I wonder if the following would have happened, but of course that is me, merely speculating. His teachers did not even consider he may have made a simple mistake and alerted the police who then interviewed him, and examined a laptop found at his home. The upshot – the family now feel traumatised and the boy no longer wants to write. Continue reading About a schoolboy
Dear Jeremy Hunt,
This week has seen the NHS, and the junior doctors who work tirelessly for it, take a much-needed stand against you and your ridiculous policies. And I’m not entirely sure that you care?
On Tuesday, there was the first of three planned strikes. The decision to strike is one that would not have been taken lightly by any of the doctors, but one they deemed so important that operations were cancelled and appointments rescheduled. I don’t work for the NHS, and I am not up to speed with all of the ins and outs of the debate, but as a mum of two sick little boys, I know the NHS and all of those who work within it are vital. And I know that it is at breaking point. Continue reading Dear Jeremy Hunt
by Jen Faulkner
I have always been a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. In my life, and that of the people I love, it’s often proved to be true. Even if the unthinkable has to happen, which at the time makes no sense. Like my dad dying of bowel cancer so I would have screening at a young age, which, as it turns out, has saved my life. Or my eldest son needing a middle and lower lobectomy, which enabled the diagnosis of a rare genetic condition for both him and my youngest child, preventing his lung ever needing to be removed. Hindsight has always shown me that these hideous things have happened because of something and haven’t been in vain, even though I’ve only recently begun to understand why.
But when I look at the news, and at what is happening in the world, my theory of reason makes no sense anymore. Events this year have shattered lives, broken families, and destroyed houses and countries. People have lost hope. Lost faith. And lost their homes and loved ones. Terrorist attacks, flooding, and austerity measures to name a few, have all taken their toll. Continue reading Dear 2016
by Jen Faulkner
This week I was angered by an article, partly entitled, ‘I want to drown my baby.’ Frustratingly it was an interesting and informative article about post-natal depression, and as to why more women don’t speak up and ask for help. And ironically one of the reasons they potentially don’t shout out loud for assistance is because they are afraid that people will assume they want to harm themselves or their child, exactly what the headline quoted. And so, this week’s letter was an easy one to write….
This week, as well as on countless other occasions, you’ve taken a vitally important topic and completely devalued it by insisting on attaching it to sensationalist and unnecessarily brutal headlines.
Recently it was The Telegraph who potentially caused an entire generation of post-natally depressed women to burrow themselves even further away from support and reaching out with an atrocious headline that completely missed the mark. Continue reading Hat wearing cats ruined my life