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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
New SNP MP Mhairi Black distinguished herself in Westminster straight away when she made herself a chip butty in the canteen  

The SNP adventure arrives in Westminister - but how long before these new MPs go native?

Katy Guest
The Public Accounts Committee found widespread concern among civil servants that they would be victimised if they spoke out about wrongdoing  

Nikileaks explained: The sad thing about the Nicola Sturgeon saga is that it makes leaks less likely

Jane Merrick
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?