Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Labour Party

It will be a historic day today as MPs vote over press regulation.

Ed Miliband gave a powerful interview to the Observer in which he said MPs from all sides must stop living in fear of retribution and do the right thing by those who have suffered media intrusion. He said: “”Monday is the day that politics has got to do the duty by the victims and has got to stand up for the victims.”

He admits, in the candid interview, of initially being nervous of the consequences of speaking out about the press and specifically of ‘making it personal about Rebekah Brooks’ when he called for her resignation. She had been the chief executive of News international at the time and another executive there reportedly warned one of his officials that ‘having made it personal about Rebekah, we are going to make it personal about you.’

Miliband has worked hard and shown great leadership in preparation for tomorrow. His proposal would see a regulator with greater independence from the industry created. It would have better powers to investigate complaints. It would also be able to influence on the prominence of apologies in the print media and crucially it would be enshrined in legislation.

You can read more on this here.

This week (20 March) will also see the Chancellor deliver his budget. In preparation Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, and George Osborne appeared on the Marr Show yesterday morning. The Shadow Chancellor said not enough was being done to stimulate growth and accused the coalition of following the “economics of the lunatic farm”. You can read more here. 

The COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg has published a book in which she argues women lose out in the workplace because they don’t negotiate for themselves and, if they do, are punished for it.

An extract of her book, Lean In, Women, Work and the Will to Lead, reveals case studies which show that it is no different at the mighty Facebook HQ. Sandberg describes, for example, how a group of gifted engineers at Facebook, all female, fell silent when asked to share the progress they had made in building products. They only opened up and shared stories when Sandberg then asked them to tell each others stories.

She says the key to your own success is achieving more success-but how can this be done if women fail to share their professional elf advancement?

Sandberg writes: “For women, taking credit comes at a real social and professional cost. In fact, a woman who explains why she is qualified or mentions previous successes in a job interview can lower her chances of getting hired.

“As if this double bind were not enough to navigate, gendered stereotypes can also lead to women having to do additional work without additional reward.

“When a man helps a colleague, the recipient feels indebted to him and is highly likely to return the favour. But when a woman helps out, the feeling of indebtedness is weaker.”

The Guardian extract is to her book was actually very interesting; not least because it suggested women try to please everyone but in business trying to please ‘all the people all of the time’ will hold you back. Her final story reveals what happened during her first six month review with Mark (Zuckerberg); he told her “that my desire to be liked by everyone would hold me back. He said that when you want to change things, you can’t please everyone. If you do please everyone, you aren’t making enough progress. Mark was right.” You can read the full extract here.



Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Labour Party

“Ed Miliband is talking like a Prime Minister… for the first time”, said Tony Parsons in last week’s Mirror.

He had been talking about the difficult issue of immigration and the speech at the Institute of Public Policy Research marked a turning point for the Labour leader. Parsons said: “When Ed Miliband talked about ­immigration with such sensitivity and intelligence, for the very first time I could imagine him as Prime Minister.”

It was an impassioned speech, and Miliband suggested we should approach the issue in a rational, focused and calm way: “The debate we must get to is a grown-up debate, informed by the facts, serious in intent, and conducted in a candid way.”

He approached the subject in the right way, and chose the right words. As Parson’s pointed out: “Talking about immigration at all takes bravery, as it is a complicated subject.” You can read his full op-ed here, and the full transcript is here.

Last week the actors union Equity wrote to 43 theatres highlighting the need for better employment opportunities for women.

The letter was sent following analysis of Hampstead theatres current season which includes:  Henry V and a Winter’s Tale from the company Propeller, an all-male theatre company, which reflects Shakespeare having written for a company of boys and men. This may be so but let us not forget, Fiona Shaw once played Richard II, Vanessa Redgrave Prospero and Kathryn Hunter played Lear.

Only through encouraging new and emerging talent will this end. A new generation of female writers such as Lucy Prebble, Chloë Moss and Abi Morgan will, we hope, go to some lengths to achieve this.

Vicky Featherstone, artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, has recently been appointed chief of the Royal Court in London. She supports the idea that the problem of women’s representation on stage can be solved only through a new type of theatre and new writing, she said:  “Tired old programming of old British plays is becoming more and more redundant. It is through new plays that we can represent the world we actually live in.”

Read the full article in the Guardian here.

While Equity addresses its issues of poor female representation in theatre, Facebook announced its first female board member last week. Sheryl Sandberg chief operating officer at Facebook, has joined the social network’s board of directors, becoming the first woman to do so.

The announcement followed criticism that Facebook’s board lacked women and minorities. The company was called out for the board demographic makeup by a group called the FACE IT Campaign.

Zuckerberg had told The New Yorker last July when asked about why there were no women on the board that he was focused on “finding ‘helpful’ people and not concerned with gender.”