Joining the 3.5m

I joined one of the biggest civil society organisations in the UK yesterday – the National Trust. 3.5m members, which is the population of Britain’s four biggest cities after London. I got in my car and headed out of the city, which was just great (and one of the reasons I got the car of course). It’s astonishing how quickly you’re in the countryside, especially from Croydon – it’s barely half an hour from there to Westerham and serious Kent landscape. I visited Churchill’s home, Chartwell, joined the Trust and then came back via a garden centre. I’m trying to find a composter that I can have in the back yard, so that vegetable peelings and so on get used. But they’re all so big! If anyone knows of a good urban composter, please point me in the right direction.

There’s been a lot of discussion in the papers about the EU banning sexist adverts. It’s amazing how a report by an MEP adopted by a Committee, which says national laws should be used to counter stereotypes then becomes a “ban” “backed by EU chiefs”. The best take on it had to be Charlie Brooker – I wish I had that man’s rantability! There’s another gender issue which has got me a bit riled though. There was another report out last week (what did we talk about before all these reports…?) about the glass ceiling. All the discussion about it that day and subsequently has focussed on childcare issues and the role of motherhood in women’s careers. But here’s a newsflash: not all women have children and not all women are going to. Women in the workplace is NOT the same as mothers in the workplace. Even those of us who aren’t mothers and aren’t going to be are affected by the glass ceiling. So stop fudging the issue with an attempt to guilt-trip mothers in senior positions and look to tackle some of the serious social issues that contribute to the pay gap and the glass ceiling.

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