Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why don’t women bank on getting to the top?

When Jenni Murray asks the questions, I expect snappy, knowledgeable answers. When she questions women who are brainy and of high economic stature, I expect the answers to be closely argued and illuminating. In the studio were Dr Anne Sibert, professor of economics at Birkbeck College, and Frances Cairncross, who worked on the Economist for 20 years. “How long,” she asked, “until there’s a female governor of the Bank of England?” Telegraph 

Vicki Woods in today's Telegraph write's in answer to the above question Why don't women today get the top jobs? She gives many excellent reasons and it set me pondering so here are my thoughts on the subject.

The playing field isn't fair yet. It is much better than in my day when I couldn't even start. I wanted to be a TV director/producer and in those days I couldn't even get an interview so I never reached the starting line until I was 36! My male contemporaries had had 18 years experience. 

When I made my first and only TV series it was a finalist in international media awards but I had to have a male director as Auckland's TV's boys would not take orders from a woman! Eventually it was conceded that my name should be allowed on the credits as co-director. To my knowledge this is the only time this has happened.

Today women are allowed to start at the bottom of the hill and the men half way up. Going to Eton gives any male a big advantage but just being male helps. It is hard for women to catch up, let alone overtake.

The women that do are superwomen and should be applauded for their achievement.

Considering I was not allowed to start, I have done well but not as well as my  male colleagues. David Hemmings, Michael Crawford went viral. Hit the very top! I got half way but I am pleased with my achievement. If I had been a man with my talent and knowledge I should have been Director General of BBC or Artistic Director of both Ballet and Opera at Covent Garden and I think I should have done a better job but we shall never know. Nothing like being confident after the event!

So women will have to wait and fight for a bit longer but women shall get there eventually.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nigella Lawson' sense of failure at Motherhood

Modern mothers feel a “huge sense of failure” as they struggle to raise their children the right way, according to Nigella Lawson.
The Domestic Goddess said parents are bombarded with so much conflicting advice on child-rearing that it creates a constant sense of anxiety.
“People who don’t have children imagine that their whole lives would be all right if they had children, but they don’t realise that having children gives you lots of problems; one is constantly worried,” said Lawson, who is mother to Cosima, 18, and Bruno, 16.
“Also I think it’s impossible to be a mother without a huge sense of failure. 
Nigella Lawson Telegraph

I admire mothers of today. They have a thankless task. If they go out to work they are neglecting their children and if the stay at home they are a drain on the economy.
We do our best! Children do not come with a manual. Maybe men could help a little more. Why is it that husbands expect that they never to have to take time off work but their wife can drop everything when their child has a cold? Sharing responsibility is not a consideration. I had to juggle home child and challenging job without any help at all and not complain. For many years I was the sole breadwinner and had to keep my daughter and my GP husband in the manner is which they had become accustomed.
My husband was a total failure in the help department. My daughter ran rings around us both. If she had had her way she would have left home at seven and really she did. She didn't need me after seven and never has since.  I suppose I should be proud of raising a truly brilliant independent woman.
I can only sit back and marvel at the way she has turned in spite of me. Fortunately children survive their parents!
I still feel a complete failure in this area. I did my best and I am proud of my offspring but looking back I  really was not up to the task. Motherhood was not my best field. 
I told my daughter that she was on her own when she had her own child as I had obviously been totally inadequate as a mother. Unlike me she is doing a superb job.
'Hats off' to mothers everywhere where would men be without them! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kate's Boob the Downside of being a Royal

The Downside of being a Royal

Poor Kate! Who would have thought that a photographer half a mile away would have the ability to photograph the royal boob and what is more publish it for the world to see!

I know I should have hated that if it had been me. There is a distinct downside to being a royal.

It is one of those lessons learned the hard way. If you choose to become a public figure and Kate did, then your privacy goes out of the window. You are fair game.

By marrying William Kate chose this but I don't expect she ever imagined this would happen to her. Prince Harry's little naked escapade should have warned her. The Royals know that photographers can do this at anytime so with Harry's photo only a week in the past perhaps it was unwise of the new duchess to venture onto a balcony with her boobies on display especially in France.

Somebody should have warned her. I was warned when I was 12. When I was interviewed for my ballet school, this public figure bit was pointed out. I have been public figure all my life and have had to look at myself on the front pages of newspapers seeing well known friends off at airports as if I were marrying them next week. I found it embarrassing. That's the price you pay. I chose to dance but I realized  my life from then on would not be my own. I had to be careful.

However the French press are disgusting and unfair. Give the girl a chance as she is still learning the job. Not sure that suing them is going to do much good as it will only keep these pictures in the public eye.

Sadly for Kate shopping for clothes in the high street will now be off limits. Cameras in changing booths will always cause a threat but the benefits of being a royal far out weigh the occasional downside.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Andy Murray show how to slam it

Hats off to Andy Murray for at last winning a Grand Slam. One has to admire his guts and staying power.

He also has a great sense of humour ! I bet he has met many like this in real life.

So as they say Everything comes to hm that waits.

Lets enjoy it! Being of Scots descent, well my great, great aunt was a Scots Fish wife, Auntie Annie from Rutherglun, I can take even more pride in a fellow countryman.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Religious Symbols to wear or not to wear?

I can understand why many followers of belief systems like to wear symbols of their belief. It seems harmless to wear a a small gold cross on a chain or a Star of David to tell others that they are a believer but I find it offensive. I know I shouldn't but I do.

I do not believe in any of the current belief systems and yet daily I am subjected to a barrage of symbols that erect a barrier between the person wearing the symbol and me. I have to respect their right to confront me with maybe a symbol that I find unpleasant and offer no criticism  or comment. It is their right but I really wish they wouldn't.

I can't help it but most of these symbols scare me stiff. I am especially frightened by the Islamic head scarf as I know if Islam had its way I should be in a burka. To me that headscarf means imprisonment and slavery for life for women and yet I am not allowed to say so or show any displeasure.

I know if I see a Sikh turban that somewhere on that person is a hidden dagger that could kill me. I find this offensive that because of the belief system this person feels s/he has a right to kill me.

A cross appears harmless but I was raised in a school that had symbols of a tortured man nailed to one of these in every classroom. Instead of concentrating on my school work I was wondering what it felt to have nails hammered through ones hands and feet. To me a simple cross means torture.

When I see a Star of David or a male skull cap I know that this person knows s/he is far superior to me and looks down on me as I am not a member of the Chosen Race. At school in Golders Green I had to put up with the taunts of 'Goy' as I left the station by young men in skull caps.

I am expected to put up with all this and I do but I feel it puts up a barrier between them and me that ought not to be there. I felt this last week when buying some hi tech equipment. The lovely young shop assistant wore an Islamic headdress which it is her right to do but I found it difficult to treat her as a normal person because I consider this a badge of feminine  discrimination that should not be allowed today! I felt very uncomfortable indeed.

I think all belief system symbols would be better kept out of the public arena. Everyone would be happier. Well I would.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Google+ vs Janette Miller/Heffernan

I love Google and all it freebies but Google+ doesn't love me!

It seems once again my name is causing problems as it does not conform with their naming policy. This is nothing new to me as my name has always been a problem. I have never managed to have a name that is instantly memorable and trips off the tongue like Margot Fonteyn, Cocoa Cola or Google.

Having been stuck with Heffernan for thirty years and believe me this has not been easy I decided to return to my maiden name of Miller as it is so much easier. You can appreciate the difficulties. For the first year I decided to call myself Janette Miller/Heffernan  to ease the process. I have a YouTube Channel under Janette Heffernan and did not wish to put up all 54 videos again at my age!

I applied to Google+ as Janette Miller/Heffernan and was rejected as I was not a real person! I appealed but it seems I ought not to exist! There is no other appeal possible and  my Google + was cancelled.

Google+ will not recognize the forward slash / and I think this was the problem when I replaced the / with a hyphen - all went well. Google+ is very, very insistent on the letters or punctuation marks it will accept.

The irony of this policy is that Google+ is falling short of its own naming policy. Under Google+'s rules the + is illegal! Google+  should not be tolerated. I have tried to point this out with no success. Also Google is hardly a normal name. I mean where do you find a Mr. Google? There are thousands of Heffernans!

It appears there is one rule for Google+ and one for the rest of us!

Monday, September 3, 2012

British Prisons I have played!

A friend's entry on Facebook made me recall the days I spent entertaining those unlucky people detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

Now I come to think about it I don't think many young girls of my age had this experience of actually being in these grim institutions.

As a GSM&D student I 'did' many of London's prisons. A large limousine  used to call for us and take us first to a flat in Eaton Square where the gentleman who organized these events lived and then after tea we were driven to either Pentonville, Wandsworth or Wormwood Scrubs.

My introduction was at Wandsworth where I looked out on 2,000 men dressed in grey in this huge, grim cathedral hall. I used to do satirical monologues which were popular at that time and I did 'The King's Breakfast ' by AA Mine and the line "The cow said" went down particularly well. The inmates loved the satire. I enjoyed it and they seemed to enjoy me!

I was very attractive and pretty and I had character. My Eaton Square host said "They like you! You have a quality that they admire. They like guts and they can sense you have them!" I got a wonderful reception.

At Wormwood Scrubs  Ivor Novello's piano made an impression.  I couldn't understand how this beautiful piano came to be sitting in this prison theatre so I asked an inmate. It seems that inmates can take the tools of their trade into prison. Ivor Novello was cruelly convicted of breaking petrol rationing laws during the Second World War and imprisoned. It killed him but he left his piano. You can see his signature scratched into the metal.

It was one of these monologues that I performed in Nottingham goal that led to me breaking into West End Musical revue. The husband of the Pat Lancaster, John Pritchett was accompanying his wife. I had no idea that he composed many of the famous intimate revue numbers and I was performing one of his without the accompaniment! Pritch asked me afterwards why I hadn't used the music? I was so green I never knew they had music!

I must have impressed him for years later he was instrumental in helping me into a London review. My audition had been in a prison.

In later years I discovered that my Bookbinder friend Peter Goodwin had served as a Screw for 11 years in Nottingham when the craft of bookbinding was on the wane. He used to call the prisoners his gentlemen!

As to star ratings London prisons are best.  My choice Wandsworth as many white collar crims are sent there. Nottingham, Liverpool  and Leeds are to be avoided.  Scented soap seems to be the most appreciated gift so go stocked up.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dummies Guide to the Financial Crisis

I think that this explains it perfectly... I didn't write this but I should love to congratulate who ever did. I shall take it down if required but it is essential reading!

 "Dummies guide to what went wrong in Europe. 

 At last a simple explanation.....

 Helga is the proprietor of a bar.

 She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed
 alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar.

To solve this problem she comes up with a new marketing plan that
allows her customers to drink now, but pay later .

 Helga keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby
 granting the customers' loans.)

 Word gets around about Helga's "drink now, pay later" marketing
 strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into
 Helga's bar.

Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in town.

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands
Helga gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially
increases her prices for wine and beer - the most consumed beverages .

Consequently, Helga's gross sales volumes and paper profits
 increase massively.

A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognises that
these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases
Helga's borrowing limit .

He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of
the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

He is rewarded with a six figure bonus.

 At the bank's corporate headquarters , expert traders figure a way
to make huge commissions , and transform these customer loans into DRINK BONDS.

 These " securities "  are then bundled and traded on international
 securities markets.

Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being
sold to them as " AA Secured Bonds " are really debts of unemployed

Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb and the securities
soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.

The traders all receive a six figure bonus.

One day , even though the bond prices are still climbing , a risk
manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to
demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Helga's bar.

He so informs Helga.

Helga then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons but being
unemployed alcoholics , they cannot pay back their drinking debts .

Since Helga cannot fulfil her loan obligations she is forced into

The bar closes and Helga's 11 employees lose their jobs .

Overnight, DRINK BOND prices drop by 90%.

The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank's liquidity and
prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic
activity in the community.

The suppliers of Helga's bar had granted her generous payment
extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the DRINK BOND securities.

They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt
and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds.

Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy , closing the doors on a
family business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor , who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers .

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their
respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multibillion dollar
no-strings attached cash infusion from the government.

They all receive a six figure bonus.

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied
on employed , middle-class , non-drinkers who've never been in Helga's
Now do you understand?"

I do! 

Brilliant explanation. Thank you to who ever wrote this.