In­spired by world-chang­ing women

Th­ese high-achiev­ers are a credit to our sex, and just might save the planet

The Jewish Chronicle - - News -

FOR THOSE of you who are fol­low­ers of my col­umn you may re­mem­ber that I’ve just re­turned from the “jolly’ of the cen­tury in Mi­ami — pre­sent­ing the Life­time Achieve­ment Awards to the In­ter­na­tional Women’s Fo­rum. Never mind the awards — as soon as my first-class ticket ar­rived it be­came all about the trip. Daugh­ter packed off safely to Aunty Debs, work put on hold, phone switched off for the first time in months.

The flight be­came a mini-break in it­self. First class was lux­u­ri­ous — in fact more than lux­u­ri­ous. Glass of cham­pagne in one hand, py­ja­mas pulled on be­fore you could say “chicken or fish”, cash­mere socks (de rigueur for long-haulers in first class ap­par­ently, so my posh friends tell me) and I set­tled onto the flat bed un­der my du­vet and set the per­sonal in-flight en­ter­tain­ment to “cin­ema”. Moon and Star Trek, both missed on gen­eral release, sent me into sci-fi heaven. Mean­while all nig­gling thoughts of be­ing mis­tak­enly booked for the gig through some hideous mix-up floated away.

How­ever, hav­ing been told that we were be­ing met at Mi­ami Dade air­port to be fast-tracked through im­mi­gra­tion, I was alarmed to see two high-rank­ing po­lice of­fi­cials and a man in a suit ap­proach us a we stepped off the plane. “This is it,” I thought, “the em­bar­rass­ing mo­ment when they ar­rest me for not be­ing Tracey Ull­man and send me home Econ­omy.”

But no — on the con­trary, they wel­comed Tracy Ann Ober­man and newly branded hus­band Mis­ter Ober­man (he was de­lighted! Not) with open arms. It went swim­mingly from there on in — sea-fac­ing suite for Ms and Mr Ober­man; flow­ers for Ms and Mr Ober­man; spe­cial spa prod­ucts for the Ober­mans. Ha!

But then the im­por­tance of the event struck me. I was in the com­pany of some of the high­est pow­ered and suc­cess­ful women in the world. To name but a few: Dame Clara Furse, one-time chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Lon­don Stock Ex­change and the first fe­male to oc­cupy the po­si­tion; Tzipi Livni, the Is­raeli politi­cian, cur­rent leader of Kadima the largest party in the Knes­set; Dr Sylvia Earle, once chief sci­en­tist for the US Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion, and who trav­elled over 1,000 ft be­low the wa­ters of

‘This is it — the mo­ment they ar­rest me for not be­ing Tracey Ull­man’

the Caribbean in a sub­mersible to walk on the sea floor — she was four months preg­nant at the time; Mareia Meyor, dou­ble Emmy winning pri­ma­tol­o­gist and could-be su­per­model.

The women we met were all jaw-drop­pingly in­spir­ing with a wide spec­trum of tal­ents. I know my­self how hard it is to be a work­ing mum and what jug­gling and emo­tional wrench­ing in two takes place to keep fam­ily and ca­reer and san­ity in­tact, so it was fas­ci­nat­ing to be at a con­fer­ence of the world’s big fe­male movers and shak­ers who were all happy to ap­plaud each other’s tal­ents and not be afraid to cel­e­brate moth­er­hood, their chil­dren, and their un­de­ni­able achieve­ments.

Mr Ober­man rightly noted that th­ese women from 42 dif­fer­ent coun­tries were warm and en­cour­ag­ing to­ward each other, not threat­ened or com­pet­i­tive. He said he couldn’t imag­ine males of a sim­i­lar stature, at a sim­i­lar event, hug­ging and kiss­ing each other, com­par­ing snap­shots of grand­chil­dren whilrt de­bat­ing global strat­egy on fi­nan­cial and eth­i­cal is­sues.

So this col­umn is to cel­e­brate women. All of us. We are pretty in­cred­i­ble. We are home­mak­ers, and life­givers and, and, in some cases, if that weren’t enough, we can change the world with our achieve­ments.

TRACY-ANN OBER­MAN

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