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Mariella Frostrup: live webchat about gender equality (and other stuff), TODAY, Wednesday 7 November, 12.30pm to 1.30pm

(71 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 05-Nov-12 15:47:12

We're very pleased to announce that Mariella Frostrup will be joining us on Wednesday 7 November got a live webchat.

Mariella, who is promoting the GREAT Initiative, is a journalist and broadcaster who writes a weekly column for The Observer, a book column for Psychologies and is the film critic for Harper's Bazaar. She also presents The Book Show for Sky Arts and Open Book for BBC Radio 4.

The GREAT (Gender Rights and Equality Action Trust) Initiative is a charity that works to redress gender imbalance. It provides financial and organisational support to women in Africa - particularly Liberia - working at grassroots level to increase gender equality.

In order to help fundraise, the London jeweller Boodles has teamed up with GREAT to launch the GREAT Boodles Bangle, a bracelet designed to celebrate female friendship. All profits from the sale of GREAT Boodles Bangles will go straight to grassroots gender equality projects led by individual women with the know-how to make real changes in their community.

Mariella is keen to hear your thoughts on gender inequality and feminism, and to also to answer your questions on anything and everything. Do read Mariella's guest blog before you post to get a sense of why she set up GREAT.

We hope you can join us on Wednesday. But, as ever, if you can't make it, you are most welcome to post your questions here in advance.

foolonthehill Thu 08-Nov-12 11:22:11

Please...........................Ask her about the ASDA advert for Christmas and how far we have to go before we actually respect both men and women as equally useful, equally valuable and equally entitled to respect.

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:49:33

Thanks to everyone who joined in. I've had a really interesting time here. Mumsnet is such a great example of the power of women's voices when we join together. Keep up the great work and if you can afford it, buy a bangle www.greatboodlesbangle.com
Byeeee Mariella

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:47:40

kickassangel

Love Mariella. She would be one of my fantasy dinner party invites. Would it be too shallow to ask if she would drink red wine or white?

Must try to think of some serious questions, then mark this on my calendar

Would depend on the quality rather than the colour though some days I'll drink anything!

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:45:43

BoffinMum

Mariella, are you a member of the Fawcett Society? Do you think women have as much of a voice in UK democratic processes as men?

I use the Fawcett Society's statistics quite a lot and think they do a great job-and I do think we have a voice when we're voting but we should start to use it to promote more female politicans. With only 14% representation in Parliament it doesn't seem a very equal democratic voice to me and it's embarassing that we're ranked 56th in the world in terms of women in National Parliaments. I'm all for quotas to change the status quo.

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:38:34

slug

Who were you targeting with the Bangles campaign? I can't imagine anyone I know being able to afford one of those.

It may seem extraordinary but we had to battle to get the price down to where it is at present. The CEO of Boodles said it was the "cheapest" thing they'd ever made. It's beautiful and 100% of the profits go to the Great Initiative but I appreciate it's not affordable for all. We'd love to find a partner to create a more affordable version so if there's anyone out there who can help, get in touch.

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:35:12

oricella

hi Mariella, they are lovely bangles and a nice initiative - but as a bit of a WatSan girl I would really like to see some more awareness about the unglamourous bits of gender rights and equality.. so my question is, will you be talking toilets sometime soon (the single biggest contributor to equal opportunities for school girls in many, many countries)?

I'm not sure the availability of toilets is the greatest impediment to girls education in the developing world. The notion that's it a waste of an investment seems to me to be the far greater problem

slug Wed 07-Nov-12 13:32:16

Who were you targeting with the Bangles campaign? I can't imagine anyone I know being able to afford one of those.

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:32:00

LineRunner

Mariella, as you can see I'm posting this at 03.36am, hoping for good news on Obama!

What do you think of the US Election Results?

Hugely relieved!

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:31:14

mignonette

Another sneaky question- I am reading Barbara Kingsolver's new book 'Flight Behaviour' as I love her and love all her writing. Who is your favourite American author and will a woman ever be 'allowed' to write the Great American Novel?

Does Canadian count as the late Carol Shields book Unless is one of my absolute favourites and I'm addicted to Alice Munro's short stories-What does the Great American Novel mean-to date it seems to be an all male genre?

oricella Wed 07-Nov-12 13:28:06

hi Mariella, they are lovely bangles and a nice initiative - but as a bit of a WatSan girl I would really like to see some more awareness about the unglamourous bits of gender rights and equality.. so my question is, will you be talking toilets sometime soon (the single biggest contributor to equal opportunities for school girls in many, many countries)?

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:27:30

TheBlackShiksa

Hi Mariella- love you- what do you think about campaigns like PETA and the FISHLOVE campaign that use womens (naked) bodies to sell their cause. I'm in no way prudish but I find such campaigns really hard to deal with. As a feminist they turn me right off because its like saying its ok to objectify women if it means people don't eat meat blah blah blah. Really interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Also how did you land the agony aunt gig- it is my life's aim to be an agony aunt one day- your column is the best by miles- i love that you don't suffer fools, are feisty but are warm and unbelievably wise. Do you ever take your own advise?

Anything that takes us away from the assumption that women are only dressed when they're wearing six inch stilettos and gobs of make-up is okay by me. I saw a picture of Posh Spice the other day in flat shoes and she looked so much better than when she's tottering around like a geisha.

whiskeytangofoxtrot Wed 07-Nov-12 13:27:25

Ooh thanks for answering my question -I can imagine that would be a challenge.

<Sneaks extra question in> Are you a Mumsnetter?

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:22:58

MariellaFrostrup

UltraBOF

Can I ask too how the problems are chosen for your advice column? I love your no-nonsense yet wise and compassionate advice- so much better than just telling people to have more sex <coughs> like certain others in the magazine advice field.

I wish you'd look at our Relationships board here sometimes- you'd be great grin. Does it depress you after a while though, or does it get filtered a bit before you read them?

Reading other peoples problems doesn't depress me it just puts my own into perspective

ps I'm glad you enjoy the column

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:22:12

UltraBOF

Can I ask too how the problems are chosen for your advice column? I love your no-nonsense yet wise and compassionate advice- so much better than just telling people to have more sex <coughs> like certain others in the magazine advice field.

I wish you'd look at our Relationships board here sometimes- you'd be great grin. Does it depress you after a while though, or does it get filtered a bit before you read them?

Reading other peoples problems doesn't depress me it just puts my own into perspective

Thanks for the reply, Mariella - that was what I'd imagined! And agree of course re: different contexts of reference for male vs female writers. Although I do love Franzen.

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:19:58

kickassangel

Mariella, what's your favorite book? Which author have you most enjoyed interviewing?

Also, I have a huge girl crush on you. Would you come round my house and drink wine and talk about books until the early hours of the morning? I live in the US so you may need to stay the night.

Thank you (flattered). My favourite book this year is Kitty Aldridge's A Trick I Learned From Dead Men which had me laughing, crying and feeling every emotion in between and the good news for those with time constraints it's also only 200 pages long.

chipmunch Wed 07-Nov-12 13:19:05

Hi Mariella , No i stopped cooking pretty soon after that year ,I took a break from it after suffering a few setbacks with different personal reasons and never really got back on the horse so to speak.I'm a bit rusty now.I took up full time poker to see if i could get on the other side of the 'green door' with you guys but i'm still waiting for that to happen. I only have very fond memories of you and your delightful friends.I will cherish those memories till i die,thank you very much for that.Take care and best wishes Guy smile

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:17:53

gazzalw

Mariella

You seem to epitomise a babyboomer who does indeed "have it all"? Did you purposefully concentrate on career first and foremost and wait to have children until your career was well-established, as so many other women of your generation have done? Or is that just the way your life has panned out?

You would be one of my ultimate dinner party guests. Who would your top six be and why?

Thanks grin

I basically waited until I met a good prospective father and it just took me a bit longer than most! As for dinner party guests I'll have to get back to you but President Obama would be definitely in there-hooray for his re election

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:15:25

mignonette

Mariella.....Susannah Reid - female (BBC Breakfast) is sent to cover the Oscars. Bill Turnbull - male- is sent to cover the US Elections.

Discuss............

I'm hoping it's because that's what they asked to do. However as I've said before TV does seem to be the last bastion of 1950's style gender stereotyping-the sort of women I meet in my life don't seem to be reflected on screen in the way that they are visible everywhere in real life. TV still hasn't caught up with what women want to watch despite the fact that the biggest available audience is female and over 50.

flipflop77 Wed 07-Nov-12 13:11:05

Hello Mariella
I hope this finds you well. I had to stop my (previously much loved) Observer subscription last year due to the fact it became unreadable with (other!) female columnists wittering on about looks, fashion, make up, interior design and other stuff that I simply could not identify with as a feminist or enjoy reading about.

I had been a loyal reader for about twenty years since I was a teenager. I still miss it!

It is well documented readership has gone down in recent years, and I believe only some of this due to online. Do you think Observer will ever return to its original form? I hope so.
Thanks.

UltraBOF Wed 07-Nov-12 13:09:37

Can I ask too how the problems are chosen for your advice column? I love your no-nonsense yet wise and compassionate advice- so much better than just telling people to have more sex <coughs> like certain others in the magazine advice field.

I wish you'd look at our Relationships board here sometimes- you'd be great grin. Does it depress you after a while though, or does it get filtered a bit before you read them?

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:08:53

JeanBillie

Hello Mariella,
I always wonder - is the Hay Festival as much fun as it looks? I reckon those literary types probably like a drink grin

Now that SKY have me making four shows over two days I don't get a second to visit the Green Room and check what the writers are doing in their downtime. I certainly need a stiff drink (or five) by the time I finish on the Sunday!

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:07:04

MoChan

A friend and I were talking about the differences between boys and girls yesterday, and how boys seem to somehow receive the cultural message that they can be confident, and believe in themselves, whilst girls get the message that they are to question themselves and apologise for themselves.

It's a sweeping generalisation, of course; but throughout my life I've met talented, brilliant women who seemed to have no self esteem, while their male counterparts have had no problem viewing themselves as fantastic, never question their own authority, never put themselves down (and verge on obnoxiously over-confident at times).

What do you think we can do to help girls and women grow in confidence, and do you have any thoughts on how can we break down the automatic arrogance and sense of entitlement that we seem to be instilling in our boys (without, of course, damaging their confidence)?

I think this is a very broad question, with a potentially long, intricate and multi-layered answer. I am not expecting a long, intricate and multi-layered answer. grin

I agree absolutely and it's a conundrum that I face personally with raising my own daughter who already seems to be developing those struggles with self esteem. I wish I had an answer and if anyone else does I'd be very eager to hear it? I don't think breaking down boys confidence is the route to go, I'd rather find the key to building up girls. A society where they are judged on their looks, their clothes and their ability to keep youthful for far longer than 'humanely' possible can't help with self confidence issues though and we need to change that and stop being so apathetic about it. Objectifying women isn't post modern irony it's offensive and reductive.

no question here but Happy Birthday for next week grin

MariellaFrostrup Wed 07-Nov-12 13:02:29

UltraBOF

I'm sorry to have to ask this, but is George Clooney as funny and good company as he appears?

Yes

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