Karren Brady had a great hair day yesterday. Oh, and she also became a Baroness.
She is first-and-foremost a business woman, as well as an author, a columnist and a TV personality. Brady is now in the minority in the House of Lords for both her gender and her youth.
According to Official House of Lords statistics in 2012, there were 775 peers able to sit in the House of Lords. Including Members on leave of absence, disqualified from sitting or suspended, total membership was 816. Out of this, in October of this year, there are just 192 women in the House of Lords. And about half of all Members are aged 70 or over. The oldest is 97.
Karren Brady is not only female but she’s 45 years old. Yet when I opened today’s paper, The Times of London, the first piece on her new position as a Baroness is a Parliamentary Sketch from Ann Treneman. The headline is ‘Great hair day as Brady joins the ermine bunch’.
Yes, great hair day.
Now I love a satirical, humorous article – I’m addicted to Caitlin Moran’s writing – but this doesn’t feel very funny. And I realise that the concept of a Parliamentary Sketch is to paint an amusing picture with words. These words just seem a little ill-thought through in the same week that we’ve been inundated with stories on the gender gap.
Accountancy firm KPMG revealed that the number of people who are paid less than the Living Wage has risen in the past year – with women being hit the hardest. Research has revealed that even women who start their own not-for-profit “social enterprises” pay themselves less than their male peers. And Tuesday began with the news that: “A rise in the gender pay gap means that women will effectively ‘work for free’ from today until the New Year – 57 days in total and three days longer than in 2013.”
With stories like these I’d hoped for perhaps a little celebration of Brady’s entrance into the House of Lords. A little party popper of a story, but I’m disappointed, am I the only one feeling this way?
Very few peers in The House of Lords would be able to star in their own shampoo advert, this I know, Brady is female and comparatively young – but do I need The Times to tell me in this way?
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