Monday 5 December 2016

My experience of being the 'token female' still haunts me

Published 03/08/2014 | 02:30

Labour leader Joan Burton pictured with deputy leader Alan Kelly in Dublin's Mansion House on her election as Labour leader. Picture; GERRY MOONEY
Labour leader Joan Burton pictured with deputy leader Alan Kelly in Dublin's Mansion House on her election as Labour leader. Picture; GERRY MOONEY

Isn't it great to see more women being advanced in politics? Good to see Joan Burton take up leadership reins in Ireland, and in London, to note that David Cameron has promoted more women into cabinet positions. And the Church of England has now agreed to appoint women bishops - leading to quips about breaking the stained-glass ceiling. Hooray. I'm all for it.

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Yet, my own experience of being promoted because of being a woman is wretched. It led to the unhappiest year of my life, when I nearly went off the rails completely.

This was back in the 1970s, when the editor of the 'London Evening Standard' decided it was time to have a female executive among his ranks. Although there had been female reporters and columnists in the corporation - then called Beaverbrook Newspapers - since the 1920s, there had never been a female executive, or head of department.

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