It is the first day of spring, and in London young women bare their arms and young men bare their legs. Everyone comes out on the streets and if there’s a festival or demonstration it’s well attended. This week it’s WOW 2015 (Women of the World) at the Southbank Centre – scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March.
I’m on a panel talking about The Truth about Ageing, as co-author of Retiring with Attitude. I’m here with five other women, but none of them are my co-author who is currently enjoying a holiday in the Mediterranean. Would I rather be with her than here?
From left to right:
- Baroness Lola Young, prominent in the arts and as a member of the House of Lords able to bring a special experience to our theme.
- Sue Kreitzman, artist and curator, known to many through her appearance on Fabulous Fashionistas, one of Selfridges’s Bright Old Things with a store window display to herself.
- Me, co-author with Eileen Carnell of Retiring with Attitude, approaching and relishing your retirement.
- Ruth Pitt, producer and writer and excellent chair.
- Katherine Whitehorn, journalist.
- Stevie Spring, businesswoman, CEO of several companies, chair of BBC Children in Need.
Aren’t we impressive? One of my friends, when she saw the line-up emailed ‘Gosh you are in there with all the other really important women!!’
And I was impressed by the audience. We had a full house, at least 100 people, mostly women (of course) and it seemed they had an average age of about 30. With the clear blue skies and 6 silhouettes to amuse them they responded to the 90 minute session with enthusiasm.
Our chair, Ruth, lead us through a prepared set of issues: workplace issues, economics of ageing, memory problems, fashion and appearance, relationships, media, health …
And there was much laughter from some bon mots, especially from Sue Kreitzman.
Sue: You’re not old until you’re dead.
Sue: I’m disguised as an old lady.
Sue: Don’t wear beige – it may kill you.
Lola: I feel like 25 in the House of Lords.
Stevie: Our generation are pioneers for a different way of ageing.
Stevie: it all starts with a good bra.
Refusing to be Silenced
After our session I attended Refusing to be Silenced, chaired by war correspondent Lindsey Hilsum (International Editor for Channel 4 News), with input from Vian Dakhil (the Yazidi MP in the Iraqi parliament), Obiageli Ezekwesili founder of the Bring Back our Girls movement in Nigeria, Angelina Atyam who campaigns for the return of thousands of kidnapped Ugandan children held by the Lords Resistance Army. The story of Charlotte, Angelina Atyam’s daughter who was held for 7 years and 7 months, was the most moving element of my day.
The lyric from the Bob Marley song ‘So much trouble in the world’ ran round and round in my head.
This session was organised in partnership with RAWinWAR (Reaching all Women in War).
If you have been affected by any issues in this blog it’s probably because you are a feminist, a believer in equity, a good citizen or my mother. What will you do? If nothing else you could click on the links in this post.
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