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When it comes to Ramona's advice sometimes less is more


 Ramona Nicolas. Photo: Collins

Ramona Nicolas. Photo: Collins

Ramona Nicolas. Photo: Collins

Dragon's Den is a show that has defied the odds.

Despite a crippling recession and a continuous need to replace departing dragons, the show is back for a sixth series, and if anything it's looking stronger than ever with the introduction of businessman Eamon 'Son of Feargal' Quinn.

Ramona Nicholas, the only woman on the panel, was in fine voice at the launch, and not content to talk only about the new series, she offered her anthropological insights into the state of women in Irish society, referring specifically to the "guilty mummy syndrome".

One would have thought that there were enough candidates around for the role of chief Irish spokesperson for Women who have to Juggle their Working Lives with Motherhood and Find it Hard to Strike a Balance, but Ramona (right) was keen to give her own take on the burning issue.

"I've seen lots of high-potential females not achieve their dreams because they have just conformed to society," she said.

She believes that the dearth of women in management is due to them not having enough confidence in themselves – "they should put themselves to the forefront, and they don't."

And there was I thinking that women had children not because they wanted to "conform to society" but because they wanted children.

And, having done so, they found it hard to go back to work not because they were afraid to "put themselves to the forefront" but because of the high cost of childcare in Ireland, and the shameful lack of government support for women who want to return to work.

But maybe I'm missing something deeper to which Ramona has a unique, modern insight.

Because, if you needed proof of just how progressive mum-of-one Ramona's views on motherhood are, it's perhaps worth reflecting on the answer she gave to the question as to whether she was planning to have any more children.

"Hopefully," she replied, "if God allows. I'll leave it in his hands."

Ramona revealed that while welcoming Quinn Jnr to the team, she would have liked another woman to be involved, but admitted that because of societal pressure it was no surprise that one didn't come forward.

"There's a very small number that are willing to talk about their lives," she said.

Funnily enough, Ramona was the only one of the five Dragons who felt it necessary to talk about her life, with all the others managing to confine themselves to just talking about Dragons Den.

Eamon himself revealed that he was looking forward to the challenge, had mentally set himself the task of investing €150,000 this year and hoped to use his investment expertise for the benefit of start-up Irish companies.

Other than that, he had nothing to add.

Maybe Ramona could learn something from him?