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Sex, dominant women, Hillary Clinton's husband and shades of grey

07 February 2013

In no particular order I’m touching on the above points to launch feet first into 2013, which has the potential to be a cracker of a year and I’m determined to record it.

Taking the advice of a colleague who’s begun a ‘kitty’ (a jar) of brilliant ideas and thoughts – which she’s going to review at the end of the year to remind her about all the great things of 2013 – I’ve decided to start my own.

Every time I see, hear or experience anything ‘magical’ or worth remembering – no matter what it is – I’m saving it for inspiration.

The envelope starts here with the recent Golden Globe TV and film awards.
I couldn’t help but notice the wonderful, funny women comperes; the preponderance of wins by women for roles that portray very diverse ideas about what it is to be a woman, as well as demanding greater acceptance of those differences; the public thanks to great women, including Hugh Jackman’s words for his wife Deborra-Lee Furness. (Lucky her.)

However, the all out gem for the jar goes to the comment that followed the introduction by special guest, Bill Clinton, of the film Lincoln.

“Wow, what an exciting special guest,” said comedienne and Golden Globe compere, Amy Poehler, as the 42nd president left the stage. “That was Hillary Clinton’s husband!” (Remember, Hillary is my all time favourite and it’s very likely I will meet her, Hillary that is, while I am in the US representing Westpac at a World Bank meeting and attending the special function to welcome the new female senators into Obama’s new government.)

More clips for the kitty have come from watching the way our senior businesswomen, people such as Billabong CEO Lorna Inman and our own Gail Kelly, have been handling themselves in their positions and the media.

I find the respectful way they carry themselves and the dignity with which they address their roles as well as what’s needed in those roles to steer a path for success really inspiring.

It’s the same for the Prime Minister. Let’s be bipartisan here. No matter what you vote, the job ahead is difficult. The fantastic thing to see is senior women making their mark and being acknowledged. Let’s hope for all our sakes it’s not destroyed by a barrage of unnecessary media coverage dedicated to looks and frock issues. It’s not what a man in the same position would have to endure and we’re over it.

Over it – just like I am the Fifty Shades thing.

EL James, I have to admit, I haven’t read your books, mostly because I run to the classic who-done-its with their mystery, murder and impossibly attractive male love interests – pure fantasy rather than weird obsession. However, having been bombarded by the amount of people who have read the books, I think, just to retain my own independence, I’ll leave them to others. Not that that will stop me collecting opinions on them for the jar.

In fact, one young colleague (who, like me, is no prude) gave the first book a try, only to end up completely discouraged and shocked by what she saw as the theme: ‘young woman with everything going for her submits to obsession with narcissistic male and loses herself, her ambitions and pursuit of career in the process’.

She’s not impressed and I have to say neither am I.

I’ve also popped what writer and broadcaster Helen Razer had to say about the trilogy into the jar: “They [women] read it, very often in public because it’s a little flag that says, “I like sex”.

On that note: I’d say RSVP better watch out.

Speaking of relationships, Helen Mirren, has hit the nail on the head in a recent interview focussing on her new film role as the long-suffering wife of the famous director Alfred Hitchcock. Alma and Alfred’s 54-year-long relationship ran on something other than sex, and Helen is now famously being quoted for having come out with this in explanation: “Sex does not make marriage last… and… The power of partnerships in marriage is under recognized in our society.”

I couldn’t agree more. Although, I wonder what EL James would have to say on the topic. If we hear, it will be another for the jar.

On a more ‘seditious’ note, Wendy Simpson’s Springboard Enterprises Australia, which we featured on Ruby in 2012, continues to move ahead in leaps and bounds, identifying and supporting women owned and run businesses to step up and play big league and stay there. Springboard is holding its first Bootcamp in February and Westpac’s the major sponsor.

Venture-catalyst Springboard Enterprises is a platform where entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts can meet to build great women-led businesses. A national, not-for-profit organisation, Springboard’s dedicated to:

• Accelerating women entrepreneurs’ participation in the private equity markets
• Educating women entrepreneurs on the sources and uses of capital available for growing companies
• Promoting the success of Springboard participants
• Increasing equity investments in women-led ventures
There’s a delegation of businesswomen coming for the inaugural event. All of them here to inform, educate and pass on skills and knowledge to the chosen participants.

The chosen Australian companies ¬– between 5-10 participants – have undergone a rigorous vetting process. They must have up to 5 years’ trading history and more than $2 million in annual turnover with a high-growth plan to grow their business to an annual turnover of more than $50 million in the next 2-3 years.

We will be bringing you more on the participants and the success of the event, so get your jars ready to collect inspiration.

Finally, in the wake of impossibly odd weather conditions and a devastating Australian bushfire season, I want to wish my best to all our Ruby members, especially those in regional, rural and remote communities who may have been affected. Resilience is a trait worth having – luckily women have it in jar loads.

Fiftyshades Grey



  • Patricia Harper

    Patricia Harper 7 years ago

    Haven't read 50 Shades etc. either, but from the synopsis, it sounds a bit like "The Story of O" published in English in 1965 - also written by a woman, who disguises her identity by using a male pseudonym (or is ambiguous about her gender e.g. EL James). Both about 'young woman with everything going for her submits to obsession with narcissistic male and loses herself, her ambitions and pursuit of career in the process' (as your colleague summarized). Not only is the book uninteresting, potentially harmful - but it's been done before.

  • Petra Kelly

    Petra Kelly 7 years ago

    Hi Larke - thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts /reflections into words on the page to share. I've found your smorgasbord this morning encouraging and strengthening - as well as bringing a smile to my face. Thanks Petra