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Date
18 November 2015

Mishcon de Reya Women's Forum - in conversation with Beatrix Campbell OBE

Mishcon de Reya hosted its annual Women's Forum event, this time welcoming the proactive and influential feminist, Beatrix Campbell, for a conversation with Mishcon Partner, Rowena Herdman-Smith.

Transcript

Mishcon Women’s Forum

Rowena Herdman-Smith
Partner

So tonight we are really excited because we have Bea Campbell with us who is a well-known feminist and writer and thinker on equality issues.

Beatrix Campbell, OBE
Writer

I am a writer.  I’ve been involved in feminist politics and left politics for an awful long time.  A while back I wrote a book which was small but perfectly formed called ‘End of Equality’ the only way is women’s liberation.

Rowena Herdman-Smith
Partner

In the End of Equality, Bea talks about an awful lot of things.  She is looking at equality and feminism on the global scale not just in the UK.  She thinks we are moving away from equality rather than moving towards it which I think is quite contrary to what a lot of people believe but she looks very much at the political addendum, she looks at legislation and all of those issues so it’s a really thoughtful piece of writing.

Beatrix Campbell, OBE
Writer

What triggered this book was the awful evidence lurking around that completely contradicted the idea that probably most of us have which is that we are on a long slow trek towards equality and one of these days men and women will be equal.  All the evidence tells us that we are in the midst of an epochal challenge to that idea – it isn’t happening.  My generation and probably yours have got it as good as it’s gonna get.

A feminist in 2015 is probably a person who doesn’t think that a woman should be a doormat.  That’s the description of feminism offered by the great novelist Rebecca West who said around about the time of the First World War ‘I don’t really know what a feminist is but I know I am accused of being a feminist every time I don’t sign up to being a doormat or a prostitute’.  It’s never been put better.

A feminist is probably a person who doesn’t think that men should rule the world.  A feminist is just somebody who is optimistically committed to the idea that there should be fair shares.  We ought to encourage the idea that for women to stand up for themselves is something of which they should be proud.  It shouldn’t be frightening.  It shouldn’t put at risk their jobs.

Rowena Herdman-Smith
Partner

So our Women’s Forum is really aimed originally at getting our clients and our contacts who we see from time-to-time coming together and networking.  It is always very interesting seeing these women because to be successful in business you probably like working with men so they are not coming here particularly to be feminists and being radical but they are coming here to share experiences and also to see how do the other people deal with the challenges that they deal with day-to-day

Mishcon de Reya