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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Period pains

You know me to be an indefatigable champion of women's rights, often working until I drop for the good of the cause. I was naturally first to stand at Davos to lead the ovation that followed Emma Watson's speech on gender equality, and I felt a justifiable moment of pride at what I and my sisters had achieved since the early days of our movement. You will readily imagine, therefore, the deflation of my spirits upon catching 'Women's Hour'* on the Internet radio at my hotel...

Women's Hour has been such a shrine to petty ambitions for women, legitimising under-achievement, and lowering the expectations of an entire sex. Today, for example, a particular authoress, whom I will not name,  was described as 'very brave' for talking about the impact of periods on her writing. Ha. Before I had learned to shave I had already written a monograph on the use of the semi-colon, and by my late teens I was recognised as an authority on the use of periods of every sort. And yet I thought nothing of it, because I had been raised by enlightened foster parents, in an enlightened commune, with enlightened role models, and given to believe that I could and should aim for the highest levels of attainment. Had there been a 'Men's Hour' on the radio once a day, filling my mind with thoughts about which shade of tie was most appropriate for a business meeting, as if that was the supreme concern for my gender, no doubt I would not be the billionaire eminence grise and bloggeur you have come to love today.

If women are to fulfil their potential they must focus on lofty ambitions, and put aside the humdrum concerns with which they have occupied their minds. So let that be the end of it. Let that be the very last word we have to hear on Women's Hour about women's problems. Period.

*A long-running programme on the 'Radio 4' channel of the BBC- Ed.

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