Category Archives: Leadership

Dear Nicky Morgan… again

I was not going to write about education or politics this week and was adamant I would find another topic. But…. But…. But….I have just finished reading an article about ‘Shanghai-style’ maths lessons and I can feel my blood boiling again. And so this week, after the absolute tragedy that over half of the country’s year 6 children are apparently not ‘secondary ready,’ I had to do it. I had to write to the people responsible for ruining our children and destroying their precious childhood.

Dear Nick Gibb and Nicky Morgan,

Me again. Angry, again. And I am not entirely sure where to start this time.

Over the last week I have seen many, many posts on Facebook and tweets from teachers and parents about how sad they are for their eleven-year-old children – yes, children – because of this year’s SATs results. And instead of admitting that you got it wrong, instead of apologising to those children for experimenting with them and their self worth, you tried to defend the tests. You tried to justify the sheer trauma you have unnecessarily caused these CHILDREN by saying that these results cannot be compared to last year’s because they are taken from a completely different type of test. A test that most of them have failed. A test that says they’re not good enough. A test which tells them that in spite of working their hardest and following your absurd assessment procedures, that they are not ready to move on to the next stage of their education. But who cares if the tests don’t match to last years? That is not the point. A test that states half of this county’s children have failed it, is a failure itself in my opinion. You’re not experimenting with something unimportant, you are meddling with the next generation. When are you going to start listening? Continue reading Dear Nicky Morgan… again

Dear Resentment…

Dear Resentment,

If only we didn’t let you take over. Take hold. Because your hold is toxic and unnecessary. You become a force so vivid and powerful we are unable to let you go or rationalise your existence. You make people feel they are owed something they are not, and make them angry with things that are irrelevant.

Let me give you an example, a political one if I may. Next week many people will turn out to vote as to whether or not we stay part of the EU. Part of something set up many, many years ago. But you, resentment, you’re making people feel negatively towards their current predicaments. You are twisting the facts and making them believe that all of their problems stem from issues and people that have no impact on them at all. You are muddling immigration and the purported issues surrounding the EU and sadly you are putting the UK in a risky situation. Because people resent the lives they have. They blame the government without looking at the facts. They blame the wrong issues and the wrong people. And they are now in a position to throw the UK back to the dark ages and show Europe and the world that we think we’re better than them. And better off without them.

See how dangerous you are?

You make people listen to nonsense and believe made up statistics. They become sponges for statements that make them feel like they can grasp the live they are owed regardless of others.

I’m not a politician and so I am not going to counteract what others have said to allow you to spread amongst the nation, but I would like to urge people in your hold that they need to do some proper research – hard I know given that politicians are no longer about the people, and just seem to enjoy arguing with the opposition for the sake of it – encourage them to look beyond their own resentment and frustrations and see the bigger picture. Because if this vote goes the wrong way then you’ll have an unprecedented power over the nation and things will get even uglier than they are now.

You’ve had your time, Resentment, and you’ve done plenty of damage. But enough is enough. It’s time to let people think without you clouding their judgement. This vote is too important, there is too much at stake.

Just take a step back, and let people think, without bias, for themselves. View things rationally.

And make the best choice they can.

Right, I am now off to write to Ignorance.

Take care,

Love, Me x

About a schoolboy

Dear Reader,

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 2016

by Jen Faulkner

Dear 2016,

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

Dear daughter…

Letters section lead by Jen Faulkner

Friendships are hard things to navigate at times. From when you’re a toddler and your peers refuse to share, to being at school and struggling not to give in to peer pressure, to being an adult and all of the complexities that come with it. I was talking to my fourteen year old the other day, who often has friendships struggles as all teenagers do, and the conversation inspired me to write her a letter about the many aspects of what it takes to be a good friend.

Dear Daughter,

We talk about friendships a lot. Aside from exam stress and sibling rivalry it’s one of our main topics of conversation. You talk and I listen because I have learnt that you don’t want me to fix the problem, just understand. Continue reading Dear daughter…

Dear Opinion

by Jen Faulkner

Recently many aspects of my life have given me cause to think about how people come to have certain opinions. It fascinates me how, often without any experience or factual knowledge to back their opinions up, people still hold the opinion that they are entitled to their opinion, and are determined to convince others of the same. I’m also interested as to how opinions are formed and how they can be dangerous when taken from propaganda, hearsay, or an unreliable source.

And so with the Paris attacks this week, where the opinions of the suicide bombers were clear, and the opinions of others in the aftermath were voiced, I thought I would write a letter to an opinion itself.

Dear Opinion,

Recently many things have happened in the world, which make me doubt you contain any good at all. And that’s a great shame because your power has the ability to resolve conflicts and create a united world. If only people knew how to handle you.

You work best on the ignorant, on those that feel they are entitled to you because of your content, and that it can be adapted to prove the point they so strongly feel needs to be heard. Do you feel empowered by this? Or when someone turns you in to a belief so strong that it makes them end friendships, disown family members, or even kill?  Continue reading Dear Opinion

A letter to the anti-vaxer

PhotoI have written the letter for this week’s column. Recently, two of my children were diagnosed with a life changing chronic illness, which leaves them vulnerable to infections. My six-year old has already had to have two thirds of his right lung removed due to an infection permanently damaging it. Another infection and he could need a transplant.

So you can understand why this letter is written passionately and honestly…

Dear Anti-Vaxer…

I want a little word in your ear. You see I have two children with chronic illnesses that affect their immune system. One has already lost a lung and I’ll be dammed if any more lobes are going to be chopped out.

I’m usually an advocate for choice. Hugely so. But not when it comes to vaccinating your child. Because, choosing whether to vaccinate or not isn’t only about your child. Continue reading A letter to the anti-vaxer

To the woman who thinks she should have it all

by Jen Faulkner

With the recent news that big companies will now have to report on their gender pay gap, including bonuses and stock options, this letter was an easy one to choose for this week’s column. Women earning less than men for the same role, or not having the same opportunities for promotion offered to them, is not something we should keep our opinions to ourselves about. The 1970 Act states that it is illegal to pay people differently, but it is still not doing what it set out to do, and the gap remains, with women on average earning 19% less than their male counterparts.

To the woman who thinks she should have it all,

Women, they’re never satisfied are they? They want it all and they want it now and have shouted loud and clear for years and slowly things have changed. Everyone knows full well these days that woman can do more than cook or clean and be a devil in the bedroom.

But now women expect to be able to have babies and retain positions of authority at work. Women think they have a right to take a year or more off to look after their offspring and then return to the influential position they previously held. And why shouldn’t they disappear for days at a time when their children are sick and still expect to be offered promotions as often as men are?

Are they simply being demanding or unreasonable? NO! I’ve yet to meet a women who doesn’t work as hard as the next best man for the job. And no, I’m not a man-hating feminist, I’m merely suggesting that perhaps women should have a choice and not be penalised for choosing a path that temporarily halts their career.  Continue reading To the woman who thinks she should have it all


Bristol Woman is delighted to publish the second part of the ‘Young Feminist’ series from young blogger, Mollie Semple. Probably, our youngest guest blog contributor to date. In this blog, Mollie tells us her hopes and fears in terms of the evolution and expansion of today’s Third Wave feminism. Definitely worth a read!


It used to be, in recent years, that there was only a very subtle undertone of feminism in any kind of pop culture most likely due to the fact the ‘Angry Feminist’ was the only stereotype thought of to refer to. And an angry woman just does not sell to the masses.

After the popularity of the full on 90s feminist movement Riot Grrrl, the whereabouts of feminists in the limelight, to me as a young person, appear to have dwindled away.

Only a few years ago I found it hard to find celebrities, songs and films right in the middle of popular culture to resonate with my growing feminist beliefs but now it’s increasingly hard to find an area that isn’t slathered in a new Third Wave feminist tint.

Obviously this feminism has always been around, but there wasn’t the same platform there is now to shout out to the world about one’s beliefs on equality. There wasn’t the same number of actresses questioning the press why it was only them who were asked about their family life or their skincare routine instead of their impressive careers. There was no Emma Watson to appeal to UN delegates on the importance of equality for women. Feminism was a dirty word, but I can see more and more of us embrace it as a powerful one. It is within this explosion onto the Hollywood scene, the music scene, the celebrity scene that one can see, mixed in with the added bonus of the Internet, the power of the media to share a message with the people.

This sudden surge of Third Wave feminism in the Western world, which has been building up, right from the first surge of Riot Grrrl, is completely exhilarating. Twitter is littered with it, Facebook is swimming in it and the celebrities are more and more becoming advocates for it. The Angry Feminist, for most, is now just a ‘Taming of the Shrew’ type exaggeration because a huge number of people are now fitting comfortably into a new “acceptable” egalitarian category. We are of course still angry, because you can’t see the gaps in equality and not become deeply impassioned in a desire for change, but it is now an accepted feature to be commended and not frowned upon.

Staggeringly, huge numbers of female celebrities are no longer afraid to open their mouth and express an important opinion in case of a drop in popularity. There has finally been created a safe space for feminism within pop culture where women and men can properly express their thoughts on it. The obvious inequality in this culture is no longer happily ignored, Third Wave feminism has broken through and started to dominate. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end.

However, I do just have one issue with this mostly brilliant popular movement. I worry that in between Emma Watson’s work for the UN, or frequent call outs on the Hollywood pay gap meant to ripple into the world wide pay gap, or the highlighting of the blatant racism in the film industry, there isn’t just a small element of inactivity with this newfound prestige. I wonder if there is too much focus on Western inequality and a lack of intrigue for the disastrous inequality on the other side of the world. Malala Yousafzai has been voicing her feminist views for her culture all over the world, but I wonder if she reaches the level of pop culture that, say, Ryan Gosling does. Western inequality is not unimportant or negligible in any way, but we mustn’t again fall into the trap of forgetting that the rest of the world exists. I also worry that this popularity might be detrimental to feminism in the way that it could exhaust its meaning without a sufficient achievement.

I am so excited by the fact that celebrities are using their platform to spread the word of feminism, but are they truly aiding us or telling us to actively do something?

Perhaps my criticisms are unfair here, perhaps I should just let feminism with its new fame find its steps and see where it goes. I just don’t want its power to become trivial, and for the feminist stereotype to be cyclical and in a few years time we fall into the unattractive label of the “Angry Feminist” once more. I just don’t want this fantastic opportunity to be squandered and lost in this fast moving pace of the pop culture world.

Mollie is a 17 year old student in the midst of her A Levels. She’s a passionate blogger at The Fully Intended, and all she really wants to do in life is write. She has been raised by her parents to want nothing more for the world than equality, and so intends to spend a lot of her time making sure her generation gets a little bit closer to just that.

Can we have it all?

Charlie Albers talks to us about planning parties, raising 3 children and letting dreams guide her life. The question we have for her – as a woman, as a mother, as an entrepreneur – can we have it all?

parties 4Before I had Eva, my eldest daughter, I worked in corporate events and for as long as I can remember I always loved organising events and parties. But it was only when a friend of mine mentioned how my parties were so great that I thought why not take this further? I have done this for large corporates; I love doing this at home, so why not do this as my own business, my own job? I personally feel that it is important for children, especially girls, to see their mothers working at something outside the family, not just in the home.  I was so driven, that in one night I bought the domain name, set up my email and website and was ready to go.

It has been running for a year now. I organise and run beautiful whimsical children’s parties and events. I also have a props hire part of the business where people can hire vintage china, fabulous photo booths and backdrops as well as a myriad of gorgeous props. I have just started hiring out beautifully decorated belltents, which can be used for an additional, quirky space for entertaining at weddings and events. I love it! Continue reading Can we have it all?