It was a man’s world . . .

It was a man’s world.

Thatcher-Cabinet_2530702bI don’t know about you, but some of my opinions on life are exactly the same now as they were twenty years ago. Opinions can be swayed, and formed, over a period of years, and altered in the blink of an eye as well. So I think perhaps what I am thinking about isn’t as much an opinion as a value: a deeply held belief. A belief in myself.

Being a teenager in the Eighties, when Mrs Thatcher was Prime Minister it never occurred to me that it was strange or anything unusual that she should be a woman leading a country in a man’s world. And have no doubt, it really was a man’s world even then. My own mother was a working woman as well, but back in the day being a woman who went out and had a career outside of her traditional duties as wife and mother was not the norm. I was part of the first generation of young women growing up without the expectation that we would leave school at sixteen, get engaged, get married, and then get pregnant (not always in that order). We weren’t expected to have tea on the table at 6pm for our husbands when they got in from work, we weren’t expected to be the living breathing embodiment of the perfect housewife.

I know that the death of Baroness Thatcher has stirred up some strong feelings, bitter memories and resentments over the injustices that she and theConservative government inflicted on sectors of British society. I myself am not sure about how I feel about some of the things that she did, but as a woman she played an extremely important role in my understanding of what was possible in my life. She was a hated figure, she was admired, revered, she was ridiculed, she was feted. She stuck to her guns and lead from the front, she believed in herself, and she believed in the country that she was leading. She didn’t compromise, and she made it okay to be a strong leader. She smashed through the glass ceiling. One of the things I liked about her was the fact that she expected to be treated as an equal to a man, and she didn’t lean on feminist principles to drive a point home.  She was a leader; it was irrelevant as to which sex she was.

As an impressionable teenager I loathed Mrs Thatcher and all that the Conservative party stood for and what they did. As an adult with the benefit of hindsight I can see the influence she had on me, my peers and my country. Some of it was disastrous, but her influence on young women and girls cannot be denied. Without her would we have so many women in positions of power in business now? It’s not possible to say, but she certainly beat down a path that many thousands of women gladly followed. So thank you Mrs Thatcher for my belief that I can do whatever I want to do without needing to ask for permission, without needing to worry about what people might think, and the knowledge that it is entirely within my grasp to achieve whatever I set out to. And thank you on behalf of my little girl too.


Time to celebrate

What are you doing next week on Thursday March 8th? It’s a big day all around the world, a national holiday in some places, it’s ‘International Women’s Day’. It’s marked with events and parties, rallies, demonstrations, conferences and all sorts of gatherings in countries as diverse as Argentina, Belgium and China. The event started 101 years ago and was in support of the Suffragettes who campaigned for equal rights for women.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have equal rights, and indeed can’t imagine what sort of person I would be if I had to mind my Ps and Qs and not do exactly what I wanted to when I wanted to. I am an equal to other people in the world and my daughter is equal, and I have some very feisty women to thank for securing those rights for me. But there are still millions of women around the world who don’t have this luxury; there are women who don’t have the chance for the same sort of free education as I benefitted from. We take a lot of things for granted don’t we? Well I do anyway. It’s important to remember and to celebrate what we have, and to thank the people who came before us, and make sure that our kids know about where they’ve come from and where they’re going to.

But International Women’s Day (IWD) is not all worthy thoughts and good deeds. Last year I was involved in the organisation of an IWD event at Mood Beach. About one hundred women gathered to spend the day together, learning and talking about subjects which ranged from health to business. It was an amazing, celebratory, revelatory day for many of us.

This year I’m involved in the event again, and this year it is moving to The Lindner Hotel in Bendinat, a bigger venue to cope with the anticipated larger audience. There will be speakers presenting on subjects as diverse as sex, business, personal development and the future of the world! For example, Marga Prohens is one of the youngest members of the Parliament in the Balearic Islands. She is passionate about promoting an entrepreneurial spirit amongst young people. Marga will talk about the systems in place which can help anyone who is in the process of realizing their dreams of setting up a business, as well as about particular aspects in local politics which affect women and their families. Elisabet Shatouris, an internationally acclaimed evolution biologist and futurist, Jamie Catto motivator, speaker, filmmaker but best known for being part of the band ‘Faithless’, will also talk along with other fascinating subjects.

There will be chances to meet new people, to get involved with charities, and to meet up with women’s groups from around the island. The event is being supported by Calvia Council and the Balearic Government, along with local businesses IFA Spectrum, FIX-it Mallorca and ACN. And there will be a market stall area for small businesses to sell their wares. The whole day including a buffet lunch is 49€ per person. (And it is per person, not per woman, as men are invited too of course!).  You can buy online and find out more about the day at www.internationalwomenmallorca.com

So, bring your mum, bring your daughter, bring your friends. It’s time.


By Vicki McLeod. Published on March 1st 2012 in Euro Weekly News www.familymattersmallorca.com

There’s gotta be something better than this

6am. The alarm goes. It’s still dark outside. I know it is cold because the tip of my nose tells me so. The reason the alarm is set this early is because it is the only time I can find where I can be uninterrupted and do the things that I want to do: writing, thinking, sitting quietly and drinking a cup of tea. I say I am supposed to be getting up and having ‘me time’, but you could argue (as I do) that there is as much benefit in having ‘me time’ where you are sleeping in a warm bed than freezing in a stone built finca, hopping from one foot to the other on a ice cold tiled floor in the kitchen whilst waiting for the kettle to come to the boil.

It’s come to something hasn’t it when the only time in the day which you can find where there are no  other demands on you is at 6am and you have to force yourself to do it. There have been some disappointing events recently: my birthday: no balloons or clowns, just sensible stuff like vouchers for new socks, although my friends did surprise me with a meal at a local curry house the actual owners of the restaurant couldn’t even be bothered to put on the lights and make a fuss of us: have a word with yourselves please restaurateurs! And Valentine’s Day, which passed in a haze of emails, hurried meals and stress, zero on the romance front despite having a very nice husband, we were officially ‘too busy’ to celebrate.

Something has to change, and I guess it’d down to me to get it done.

Everybody I know seems to be suffering with stress and anxiety, how are we going to cope with the economic crisis, so and so is moving back to the UK, this business is going under, that person’s had their house repossessed. How can we take back control of our lives when it all feels as if it is running away from us? When I start thinking about this I get the tune  ‘There’s gotta be something better than this’ from the musical Sweet Charity running through my head, check it out on You Tube, it’s very catchy.

Which is why this weekend coming I am off to spend a day with Maria Mateo who is running a course entitled ‘Awaken the Goddess within’. It’s designed to ‘ignite my womanly powers’ which I am totally up for. ‘Life is too short to stand in shadows, so step into your powers now and shine’. Check.

I have met Maria so this should be an interesting day, she certainly knows how to get you thinking and she’s a very warm and witty woman.  It’s time for us chicas to get back in touch with our powerful side rather than spend all of our days being downtrodden by stress and work. You can get more information at mmateo54@telefonica.net or visit my website and I will point you in the right direction. Us Goddesses in the making have got to stick together you know.


More details about the event here:   https://www.facebook.com/events/202973289801004/

Click here for the flier: Awaken the Goddess within 18 FEB