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Thursday, 14 June 2018

That Was the Week That Was

Photo courtesy of the Daily Mirror

Nothing makes a journalist happier than too much news and, right now, there's plenty to choose from: the 50th anniversary of equal pay, 100 years since suffragettes got the vote, the brand new Duchess of  Sussex stepping out with the Queen in Chester, and the frenzied run-up to the World Cup.

I particularly like this photo (above) of the Ford women at Dagenham  because back then I was an 18-year-old trainee reporter fighting my own battle for equal rights. Paradoxically  I earned as much as the all-male staff reporters but, in their eyes, I was anything but equal.

Imagine the mockery from my male counterparts when I wrote about women  burning  their bras. (We never did, by the way, but it did make such good copy!)

'Make us a cup of tea love,' was a common refrain  in our office at a time when thoroughly  modern man had yet to exist.  More than once a busy PR man dismissed me with the line 'I'm waiting for the chap from the Gazette.'  'I  am the chap from the Gazette'  became my mantra.

My favourite programme of the time,  That Was The Week That Was,  showcased a young David Frost and the sassy Millicent Martin,  who sang  the week's news  in satirical fashion like no-one  had  done before.

Image result for Photos of That was the Week That Was

But back to Dagenham. 'I'm not sure women are any better off all these years later,' one of the original  factory machinists told a television reporter last week.  'Maybe we sixties girls were wrong when we thought we could change the world.'

Now, here's a bit of news you didn't know. I was in Chester last week on the day Meghan (sorry, the Duchess of Sussex) went walkabout with her new best friend the Queen. My other half and I weighed up the possibilities of getting a good view and decided to stay in the sun-drenched apartment we had rented for a few days and watch the whole thing on television. Hurricane Hector wreaked its havoc, the Duchess almost lost her hair extensions, but the show must, and did, go on.

Since we're talking about history, that day in June when Meghan and the Monarch became mates, was  when  the attitude of the monarchy to so-called 'outsiders' changed.  If only Princess Margaret had been able to marry the man she loved.  Except that he was divorced and the young Queen wouldn't allow it.  As Her Majesty chatted to Meghan, like two old friends meeting for a coffee, I couldn't help feeling that our monarch truly regretted the decision that ultimately ruined her sister's life.

Which brings me to the Suffragettes.  Who could forget Emily Wilding Davison the woman who ran in front of  the then King's horse and lost her life for the cause.

Image result for the suffragette who ran in front of a horse

There are ways and ways of proving women are equal. Maybe, after all,  Meghan knows best?