Oh 'Evans above, Radio 4 presenter mistakes women for stars

Women are not "bright", they're clever. Like men

Share
Related Topics

Yesterday morning I was listening to Radio 4’s Today as Evan Davis interviewed Mary Monfries, head of tax policy at PwC, on whether it is tax advisers that are to blame for aggressive tax avoidance by companies like Starbucks. At the end of the interview, he asked Ms Monfries if she would look back on her life feeling she’d done good in the world because “You’re a bright person right, you’re a really intelligent person...”

Before Davis could ask "What are you doing working in this industry when you seem like such a nice girl?" she’d already cottoned on to what he really wanted to know which was whether she is proud of doing her job (she is). Whether she should be is debatable. But it was the word "bright" that caught my finely tuned feminist ear (and yes, I did just hear your snort of derision!).

Because I never hear men being complimented as "bright".

Ever heard a man say about another man "John in accounts should get a promotion. He’s very bright"? Or "That guy who co-founded Apple, you know, Steve Jobs. Bright as a shiny button he was!"?  Boys and men are "clever". Girls and women are "bright". Perhaps it’s to balance the fact that girls and women never "sweat" but "glow"?

On this occasion, I think Davis can be forgiven for a little slip of the tongue because for a male Today presenter, he’s usually quite bright (Do you see what I did there?!). But whilst I appreciate that no suffragette ever chained herself to railings because she was fed up of men calling her "bright" (“Those Pankhurst girls are a bloody nightmare but terribly bright don’t you know! Not bright enough to vote, mind you....”) it strikes me that only children, highlighter pens, the aurora borealis, stars and light bulbs should ever be complimented for being "bright".

Patients are human, too!

On Tuesday the chief nursing officer for England, Jane Cummings, launched a three-year strategy called Compassion in Practice. The intention is that nurses are taught how to provide compassionate care as well as which thermometer goes into which orifice.

But aren’t nurses being taught that already? Is there not already a module entitled "Hospital patients are human beings too!" and if not, why not? And why is it just nursing staff that are being taught to be caring? Whenever I have felt my needs have been dismissed or I’ve been treated like an annoyance, it’s been by consultants and GPs (not my current lovely crop, I hasten to add) rather than by nurses.

I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals throughout my life, and last year my baby spent 8 weeks being cared for by neonatal nurses. I can honestly say that I have never yet met a nurse who hasn’t treated me or my daughter without care and compassion.

I am lucky. I appreciate that not everyone is that fortunate and that many people have horror stories of neglectful hospital care or rude thoughtless nurses. We all know about the dreadful abuse that disabled people received at Winterbourne View care home.

But we only hear examples of bad nursing practice in the media because, understandably, "Shock as woman reveals nurse kindly held sick bucket and gently told her there was no need to feel embarrassed" is not front page news, though that was one of my experiences when I was in hospital for four weeks last year.

It’s undeniably good that the need for care and compassion is being recognised as an essential part of good nursing. But let’s not forget about those overworked and underpaid nurses whose innate qualities of empathy and compassion was what led them to want to be nurses in the first place.

If this Compassion in Practice strategy is found to be a success, may I suggest it’s rolled out to include politicians?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) pictured shaking hands with Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi on 25 March 2004.  

There's nothing wrong with Labour’s modernisers except how outdated they look

Mark Steel
 

Any chance the other parties will run their election campaigns without any deceit or nastiness?

Nigel Farage
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system