Tag Archives: International Women’s Day

My International Women’s Day lunch

I have to tell you about my lunch which makes me proud to be a daughter of a most exclusive group of women.   Four women in their very late 70s or 80s who have been friends for decades have a regular lunch date and when one of them cannot come they often include a daughter which this time happened to be me.Version 2

These wonderful women have such a variety of skills and talents and their lives have been packed with experiences. They have lived and worked overseas, been married, raised families, have successful interesting children and grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. They keep their brains alert with playing card games including bridge. They have been to more places than I have including the Amazon, Nepal, India, and Africa as well as the more traditional destinations of Europe and America. I cannot keep up with the number of books and journals that they read and their social life, as my husband says, ‘Would kill an ox.’ They are resilient and independent despite their age. You might expect their conversation to revolve around family, children and grandchildren etc. Perhaps it might include their ailments and the limitations of age. Forget it. Not once did they discuss illness, problems or the vicissitudes of life of which there have been a few.

These women are alert, intelligent and curious about life. The conversation around our table was vibrant and stimulating. I would go on too long if I gave you all the topics we discussed over our lunch but just to give you a quick overview I’ll start from where the discussion brought up David Morrison AO because his family and career were known to this circle of women. This naturally brought up the topic of gender diversity, its impact on professions such as theirs and how they managed. We segued smoothly into a discussion about minority groups and activists and how they are represented in mainstream media and society including films and television shows. The recent Sydney Mardi Gras came up in conversation with much laughter at the suggestion that perhaps they should have a float for the traditional (unnoticed older) heterosexual members of the population. This led to a discussion on government policies and the influence of minorities in decision-making and  the consequences of this on the Australian community. As women we all expressed concern about what comes across as a lack of strategic thinking in our politicians who seem to make decisions based on broadly watered down community consultation and what it takes to keep as many people happy as possible.  From here we moved onto what we expect of government, the quality and capabilities of our politicians in general, their leadership characteristics and the evolving role of our leaders, including the Prime Minister and whether a Prime Minister should attend or participate in the Gay Mardi Gras. Thus we discussed the LGBTI landscape and the Safe Schools education program and what its impact might be on families and society. These women have experienced good and indifferent education policies and we all would prefer it if the Education departments didn’t experiment on our children. This led onto their concern over what is commonly being perceived as a ‘witch hunt’ of Cardinal Pell, again known to some of these women from an earlier life. We reflected on the role of social media in society, the relevance of religion and how attitudes towards individuals have evolved in the workplace since when they first started working in the 1950s. And this wasn’t all we chatted about.

It was the most delightful and intellectually stimulating conversation I have had for a while. These gorgeous ‘old’ ladies expressed their considered opinions, listened to each other, and participated in a lively thoughtful discussion without once maligning or being hurtful about anyone. I cannot wait to be invited to join them again for lunch.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day. There are so many strong women in our household and we nearly let this day go by without even a squeal!

Most of the time my three girls just go about their working day without giving their femininity a thought. It isn’t until they run up against a co-worker whose attitudes date from two centuries ago that they give their gender a thought. They then turn to the two ancient males in the household to discuss how to deal with their work problem. Neither of these two men have any tolerance for inconsistency when working with women or men. As professionals they have always expected those they work with to act and think the same without recourse to using femininity to gain an advantage.

My father never really acknowledged that he had girls and not sons; he treated us as individuals and expected us to achieve what ever we set our minds to. My husband raised four children for 8 years on his own. He wasn’t sure how to raise a 12-year-old girl, so he did what he did best; treated her as he treated her three brothers. She is now a delightful, well-balanced and successful professional in her chosen career.

I love being a woman and value my fortune in living in a country in which I can play any sport, try any career, wear what ever I want to subject to the ever critical eye of our girls, and think whatever I want to. This is freedom is valuable and worth protecting.

However on a much more trivial but still important issue, every morning as I dry my hair I am reminded that I am encroaching on no-woman’s land. You know what I mean. I have reached the age when there are too many grey hairs to pull out, and when I go for a walk with my daughters, they now walk faster than me. I have to work a little harder when doing my exercise routine and worst of all, I find myself picking out clothes that I then decide would look better on my girls than me!

Watching the Oscar parade I looked with envy at the glorious tresses cascading over the shoulders of the women on the red carpet. I adore having long hair, and I am sure it makes me feel younger but you know you are getting old when you start checking out hairstyles for the over-50 women on YouTube. In addition, I really don’t like what age does to your hair. I too once had gorgeous glowing hair, now I search out shampoos and conditioners, serums etc that bring back that youthful shiny look. I think I have; Klorane products which contain ingredients including oat milk, pomegranate and mango butter really do seem to work. I have tried their Mango Butter shampoo and Conditioner and even better because they don’t have an overwhelmingly sweet aroma my husband is happy to use them as well.

However if you truly want inspiration on how good a woman can look as she gets older, then read how supermodel, Christie Brinkley, who turned 60 this year stays fit. She even features in a bikini for Air New Zealand’s Safety video. Sure she has been endowed with gorgeous looks and she promotes the beauty industry, but she works at it and if she can do it, then women like us should not give into the gravitational effects of age. I think I will have to pin her image up in front of my exercise bike as encouragement.