I have spent International Women’s Day languishing at home with flu. I say languishing, but being a woman living alone, languishing has also included stripping the bed, washing and drying the sheets, remaking the bed (a bugger to make alone, let me tell you!), organising and making food, and clearing up the mess of the last 2 days when I just didn’t have the energy. Let me say here, that some really good (women) friends have been kind enough to bring me supplies. And I know many men live alone, but really..

I have a very good (attractive) male friend with whom I had lost touch for many years. When someone connected us on Facebook some years ago, the first post I read was him lamenting having a cold. He had 34 messages of sympathy and offers of help – from women!!🙄

It struck me as I had time to ponder for a change, how many men pursue their chosen career single mindedly, in part because they have a woman who ensures the rest of life is taken care of: Shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, bill paying, rubbish disposal, managing the social calendar, the holiday planning, dealing with sick children, being the family taxi, waiting in for electricians and plumbers and BT who never come…

The list goes on. For many women, who either live alone or with families, these are the jobs that they do in addition to their chosen career, and I say ‘All Hail to them!’ It’s time we truly valued the work that so many women do.

I recently read an article about a woman who was getting divorced. Her husband refused to share his goods and chattels with her, but the judge awarded her £205,000 for 25 years of unpaid housework, and she was thrilled. 25 years? £205,000??? OMG, as a friend said, she should have been awarded more like £750,000. It is a sad reflection of how society values what half its population does.

I have recently started volunteering with conversational English practice with refugees who are being accommodated in a local hotel (400). I am in awe of the women who have to walk their children to school and back an hour each way, because that is the only school that will take them. They appear carefully dressed and smiling and managing the younger children who haven’t yet been given school places, and they wrestle with a completely foreign language while supporting husbands whose self worth is eroded because of not having gainful employment and they suffer people treating them as stupid because they cannot speak the language, even though they are science graduates.

Anyway, I was also pondering all the amazing women who have helped me to be who I am and where I am. I absolutely could not have been either without their help, guidance, inspiration and practical help – in supporting my popcorn brain when I’m on fire with ideas, or dealing with my equally strongly negative feelings when I have been down and struggling.

So thank you to all of you:@Miranda Tufnell @deb Barnard @sophie Johnson @Ruth Harvey @Liz Acland @Janet Hornby @Caryn Douglas @Fiona Frame @Heidi Baseler @Jane Gulec @Catherine Duncan @Liz Haddon @Robyn Whittaker @Goergina Hamilton @Liz Barrington @Anna Parker

By Julie Parker

The Coach and Trainer with lived experience, empathy and intuition. Contact me when life is messy, and the answers don't fit into a neat strapline!

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