Welcome to our blog! This is a platform where the rich diversity of women's voices can be heard and where we can come together to turn attention on the myriad of issues that affect a variety of women. We celebrate where things are good, and focus a spotlight on areas where they aren't. If you want to write something for this space please just get in touch!

Before sending us your blog, please note: We publish articles that are written by women, pro all women & not for profit in their intention. We welcome lighter pieces as well as articles on more serious issues. There is no specific word count, but most pieces are around the 700 word mark.

Our latest post is by Karla McLaren, Campaign Manager: Women’s Rights in Afghanistan for Amnesty International UK who are campaigning for women in Afghanistan.

[ Items 31 - 33 of 38 ]

Opportunities in Opposites

- Mummy Kindness 

I have been thinking a lot about the fourth point in my Mummy Kindness Manifesto:

“I will accept that others will do things differently to me. This doesn’t mean that they’re wrong, I’m wrong, or that they think I’m wrong.”

I think that we are missing huge learning opportunities by negating the opinions of others who don’t see things the same way that we do.

I’ll give you an example…. Unlike you, another mother may only give her children organic foods. That’s her choice. If deep down the reason this bothers you is that you feel that you should be doing the same, ask her advice, get some recipes. Or just accept the fact that her choice is right for her children and your choice is right for yours. It’s not a competition. We all have the same goal; to be the best we can be for our children.

Your best and her best will be different and you can still both be right. She may be the opposite of you in may ways, but there are lessons that we can all learn from each other if we stop assuming that we’re being judged for our choices or differences in opinions.

In his book Buddhist Boot Camp, Timber Hawkeye imparts the following incredible pearl of wisdom

“The opposite of what you know is also true”.

By this, he means that we all experience life differently. There are infinite theories on what is right and wrong. But however sure we are of our version of the truth, someone else can believe the exact opposite to us and still be right according to their set of beliefs and circumstances.

Few opinions are as strong as those regarding the choices we make as parents. But our job is to align our choices with our beliefs and values and respect other parents for doing the same. Even if their values an opinions differ to ours. As parents we come to our own conclusions and we must allow other parents to do the same without assuming they’re critical of us.

Nothing is ever certain in life, and especially not when it comes to parenting small children.There are no absolutes. What works for you and your family may change from one week to the next and being too judgemental about others may force us to eat our words. 

In her fantastic book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown says :

“Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting”.

I am a strong believer in being the type of person that we want our children to be, and leading by example. But this is so much easier said than done. If we are busy judging other parents and being hard on ourselves, what are we really teaching our children? That anyone different to us is wrong? That the only right way is the way our family does things?

Brene Brown sums this up perfectly:

“If we want children to love and accept who they are our job is to love and accept who we are”.

Criticising other mothers perpetuates a feeling of “us and them” when in reality we should be pulling together. If we want our children to be inclusive of children with other values, beliefs and needs we need to lead by example. We can start by having enough faith in our own choices not to feel threatened or judged by someone whose version of right is the opposite to ours…remember, “the opposite of what we know is also true”.

Our children will encounter so many different types of people in their lives. One of my greatest fears is that a child of mine would ever bully, exclude or discriminate against a child that was different to them for any reason. I would feel that I had failed as a parent.

I believe that this kind of behaviour is learned and that it comes from a place of fear or ignorance. An inability to accept someone who is different to us. If your child encountered someone with autism or a disability, would they welcome their differences and get to know them?

How can we teach them this?

By respecting, welcoming and learning from the differences in others and by modelling who we’d like our children to be. By embracing the Different and accepting that the opposite of what we know is also true. By realising that those with differences to us (even if we’re only starting with differences in opinions) are also often as right as we are. 

I am a married mother of two small children from Woodford Green. My husband and children are my heart, soul and my world. But that’s not to say that life is always easy or that motherhood is always a bed of roses. Six weeks after giving birth to my second child,  I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression (PND). I started a blogging because I believe in encouraging mums to stop comparing and competing with one another. I think we're all on the same team and should be doing our best to be kind to ourselves and kind to each other!

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​Encouragement and Self-Belief

​- Cat Brockhurst

A regular trait I recognise in myself and see in the other women I know is a lack in self confidence. This is an outward manifestation of a response to a society that undermines women in virtually every aspect of their lives, from appearance through to career path, life choices and aspirations. On this basis it is not surprising that there are so many women who do not fully realise their potential; it is manifold, a combination of endemic discrimination coupled with generations of women avoiding putting themselves in the firing line when they believe instinctively that they will be shot down anyway.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in volunteering for The Women’s Room and have seen firsthand the type of women who have registered. Many are established, well educated, experienced women in their field. There are women registered who would not be classed as experts in the traditional sense of the word, but have a wealth of experience having either lived the experience, or have a genuinely informed knowledge of it. But the one thing that struck me was the number of women asking the same question “but I don’t have expertise or enough experience in any one thing”.

Oh I beg to differ.

Let’s just say that there was a Newsnight panel discussing the repercussions of reduced pain relief availability during childbirth, would I as a viewer prefer to hear from a male doctor, who may have been on a delivery ward, but would not a) have given birth or b) been subject to what it actually means to rely on pain relief during birth? I would want to hear from the person with a truly vested interest in the change and someone who could speak with experience and conviction on the impacts. Or how about the changes to benefits, the bedroom tax or winter fuel allowance reduction. Would a male politician versus a mother of a disabled child, at the coal face of the cuts be a better talking head? I know who I’d rather listen to and learn more from. And this is what The Women’s Room is first and foremost about, women being heard, listened to, driving and contributing to the debate, setting the agenda.

But what of self confidence? It’s a tough thing to just switch on and it doesn’t come easily, but doing small things every day can start to make a difference. Highlighting the great work of other women, congratulating them and celebrating their successes breeds a culture where women can start to be truly supportive without fearing competition or rejection. Hobbies, interests outside your work or regular home life can breed confidence, not everyone can do this, but reading and writing can broaden one’s horizons immeasurably. Encouragement goes a really long way, so I try to encourage other women in their endeavours. Ultimately, we have a long way to go to have equal representation in society but recognising this and doing practical things to change the face of the media is a really great approach. I’m proud to be part of this movement and believe that every voice counts; as a collective chorus real change can definitely be made.

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Should news organisations reflect the status quo or try to influence the gender balance?

-​Tami Hoffman, Sky News Interviews Editor

It’s the key question in the debate about getting more female voices into news bulletins and articles. Should 78% of the politicians we use be male, because that’s the ratio in the Commons? Should 98% of business leaders interviewed be men to reflect the make-up of the FTSE 100? Or should news channels actively discriminate to bring some balance to the screen?

At a recent event about women in the media, one of the participants said that the problem would eventually be resolved by ‘evolution’. Her argument was that advancements in equality would lead to more women gaining senior positions, which in turn would lead to more women in the news. But evolution isn’t quick and the march of progress has proved sluggish when it comes to Women and Power.

As Interviews Editor at Sky News my job is to secure news-making interviews for the channel and to ensure that our experts are  articulate and authoritative speakers. I don’t believe that this precludes getting more women on, quite the reverse – to engage with an audience that is 46% female we need to reflect their concerns on the screen. We’ve made big strides in the past 18 months, improving our ratio from 1:4 to 1:2, but it’s still an uphill struggle.

Fortunately there are now more resources than ever to help broadcasters like Sky reshape the TV landscape. Websites such as this are useful, as are networking events, but even at these evenings of crisps and chat, I find myself having to work hard to persuade eloquent, well qualified women to put themselves forward. So after many crisps and much chat here’s my compilation of why so many women say no, and why they should say yes.

1.     “I don’t know enough about the subject”

Most live interviews are 3-4 minutes long. Interviews for a package usually require just a 30 second sound bite. Chances are that if a researcher has called you, there’s information out there that suggests you are qualified to talk about the subject. We often do several interviews on each subject during the day, so we can tailor the interview to areas you are comfortable with.

2.     “Someone else in my organisation is more qualified”.

Maybe – but it was you we called, and you can bet that a man would not pass on the opportunity.

3.     “I’m going to get tripped up”

Unless you are a cabinet minister, the boss of an oil company or Boris Johnson, it’s unlikely that the interview will be anything other than polite. You’ve been asked to come on to be informative, to help viewers understand your area of expertise. The exceptional interviews like Jeremy Paxman v Michael Howard are remembered because they are so unusual – they really are not the norm.

4.     “No-one has ever asked me”

TV stations have limited resources. At Sky News one guest producer might book 8 or 9 guests in one day. Make it easy for us to find you and be pro-active. If a news event plays to your expertise, tweet or blog about it, even email us direct.

5.     “I’m wearing the wrong clothes to come on TV today”

You are only going to be seen from the waist upwards. If you are really worried ask to borrow one of the ‘obituary jackets’ – it may sound morbid, but there are always a couple of black jackets around.

So if you are browsing this website, musing on whether to sign up -  stop making excuses, take the plunge and do it. 

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