Women Hold Up Half The Sky

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, Internat...

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8 March is International Women’s Day.  The BBC News site has been subtle when integrating women-centred stories in each of its sections.  I spotted consideration of women’s issues in terms of:







and, sadly,  the cost of gender-based strife women face daily



Usually the focus of stories would be focused on individuals like

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde

– former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

– or world beating Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling

How often are the individual stories put into the larger context of women’s lives?  What could be achieved if more people thought about the inter-connectedness of people’s lives?  Thinking about this topic, alongside other ‘What Ifs’, could make a difference for each of us http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-21069026


Opening Doors

The Gilbert Scott Building at the University o...

The Gilbert Scott Building at the University of Glasgow. Taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 100mm f/2.8 lens. It is a four segment HDR tone mapped and stitched image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Depression is a medical condition, best diagnosed by medical professionals.  I am not a medical professional, although I do have knowledge of the effects of depression.

My interest therefore was captured by BBC News coverage of Scottish research on depression, led by Prof Christopher Williams, from the University of Glasgow.

The Professor makes a pointed observation about a significant obstacle to self-development.  He notes that:

‘Depression saps people’s motivation and makes it hard to believe change is possible’.


From my – non-medical – experience without the belief that change is possible an individual’s situation tends to stay the same.  The doors through which the future is accessed, remain firmly closed.

Actually that type of inability to contemplate change is a larger issue.  The inability can come from a variety of sources, including:

–       Upbringing and the expectations it leaves behind

–       Inadequate support system, to make self-development possible

–       Inherent characteristic (age, disability, ethnicity, faith identity, gender, sexual orientation) that mean some doors seem to have their ‘Sorry, We’re Closed’ sign showing.

I wonder if policy changes in the United States to open up military combat roles to women mean the last principle is not written in stone ?  Women believe they can do more jobs than those prescribed for them, and seemingly the administration agrees.

Maybe it goes to show, if there is a strong enough case for change and a belief that a closed door should be opened, then change can happen.


Details about the US military policy on women in combat are below:



More details about the Scottish research into depression is available by following this link:


“Oh, I Can Always Do That Later”

Cover of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effectiv...

Cover of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I was motivated to write this post by the thought that I really should write something tonight, instead of procrastinating over a variety of To Do items before bed.


There’s a very honest BBC News article by Rowan Pelling on the theme of putting things off.  I have included a link to the piece which is worth a quick read.  I can definitely see where the writer is coming from.




Apparently Canadian research, by Prof Piers Steel from the Haskanye School of Business at the University of Calgary, suggests perhaps 95% of us put things off.  Worse yet Prof Piers suggests that those of us who do are:


“…less wealthy, less healthy and less happy than those who don’t delay”


Sometimes there isn’t a frog to be eaten (my 19 July post – Sharing Your Goals, Or Not – explains that reference).  If so it can be easy to chip away at several tasks, in a scatter-gun way, without the feeling of having completed anything substantial.


Perhaps it is really a matter of perspective.


Brain Tracy, in his book about ‘Goals and how to get everything you want…’, suggests applying a laser-like focus on the important goal you want to attain.  If an interruption in the shape of an email, text, letter or request for help does not support that focus then the interruption belongs in the ‘Important but not Urgent’ category.


That sound like a hardcore approach to getting things done.  It also has echoes of one of the late Dr Stephen Covey’s ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’.


Nonetheless I am going to try that approach for the rest of the month.  I’ll see what difference putting first things first makes, and post about it subsequently.

Some Lessons Are Harder Than Others

From my experience making mistakes seems to be part and parcel of being human.

The 2011 riots in England involved quite a few people making mistakes, getting involved in crime and being punished for their errors.  Usually it doesn’t take a brush with the criminal justice system to make person assess where they are in life, versus where they want to be.  However, with a bit of thought, even serious mistakes can become learning opportunities.

This link to a BBC news story shows that principle in action.