There are many ways I describe myself but ‘Mother of Three Teenage Girls’ is generally not one I use in any type of company as I fear it leads onlookers to look for signs of general wear and tear and a reliance upon the bottle. However there are occasions where I have to own up to one of my prime roles in life. You don’t have to be the voice of authority, sorry I mean walking ATM, for a bunch of teen Drama Queens to be aware of the types of female image that girls (and boys) are bombarded with. The media is full of women whose main attributes are either their physical appearance or the possession of a relentless drive for celebrity at all costs.
BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour is one of my regular listening stops and I was so invigorated and inspired when I came across the programme’s ‘Woman’s Hour Power List’.
Using a mixture of listeners’ suggestions and a panel of judges they have complied a list of who they judge to be the 100 most powerful women in the UK. The Queen heads the list, hard to argue with that one really in terms of power that can be wielded, but after that it is a glorious medley of women from law, science, medicine, the media, academia, business, forensic medicine, the police force, fashion designers, IT entrepreneurs, basically every field of modern day life. As ever I am sure there will be arguments about who has been left out, or not considered, but even as it stands I think it is a testament to the drive and ability of those women and I found myself clicking on individual women’s names and marvelling at their accomplishments. The photos that accompany each woman’s name together with a snapshot biography portray a diverse selection of woman whose common attributes are the intelligence, interest and competence that shine out of their eyes rather than the state of their hair, faces and chests. There are undoubtedly those who combine model type looks with achievement and there is a fair scattering of the glamour puss brigade for it has to be said Victoria Beckham and Stella McCartney are on the list, but how nice to see them celebrated for achievements rather than fame, notoriety or as part of a couple.
I wish ‘Woman’s Hour’ would produce a poster, complete with photos of their Top 100 as I would be ordering numerous copies and sticking it anywhere a teenage girl’s eye might light. So let’s toss out ‘Hello’, apart from obviously at the hairdressers where it’s required reading, and try to make sure that for our daughters that the phrase ‘naked ambition’ means hitting the right kind of list rather than starring in a dodgy clip on the internet without your clothes on.