Celebrating with Irina Bokova at UNESCO…

I was invited to attend an art exhibition recently.. not any ordinary art exhibition.. it was one held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

Having lived many years in Paris, the presence of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the City of Light did not impact our everyday Parisian lives… its myriad annual conferences and exhibitions were not listed in the usual weekly or monthly event calendars of the city.

So it was with slight awe and trepidation that I navigated my way through the large and imposing boulevards of this formal side of the 7e arrondissement of Paris, to reach the Place de Fontenoy.. where the sprawling site, with its central modern building, is considered international territory and belongs to the Organization’s 195 Member States.

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2016 International Women’s Day.. at the OECD

Speaking recently to the American Ambassador in Paris’ office regarding a request for her support to our local charity, I was told by her assistant that the “protocol” department will not be able to treat our correspondence in the coming week, as Her Excellency will be extremely busy attending International Women’s Day events taking place in Paris. That was an excellent reminder for me to arrange to cover this poignant day, which brings to light globally the importance of celebrating women, and related issues such as gender parity, equality, equal opportunity, etc… bref, all the things that affect me as a professional woman in the 21st century.

On the 8th of March, I found myself entering the impressive halls of the OECD Conference Centre close to Porte de la Muette… The halls were full of people there to attend the myriad conferences and plenary sessions that the OECD hosts every year. I was transported back to a time when I was a member of the hallowed young professionals set, all well-dressed in suits, conference delegate identification tags around their necks, impressive C.V.’s, and the confidence to go with it…

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“Women’s Forum Brazil 2013” – A Case of Empowerment…

I recently asked a wise, enlightened acquaintance a topical question: “How, in your opinion, is women’s role changing in the ‘5th Dimension’, from a spiritual point of view?” The answer came quickly and clearly: “Because of women’s increased empowerment, they now have a stronger platform to show that their way can work in a more beneficial way…”.

Since the discussion moved on, I was left to wonder about this simple yet startling reply later, in the privacy of my thoughts. “Their way”… I presume meant women’s naturally more diplomatic, nurturing, consensus-driven method of operating, versus the more power-driven, competitive, authoritative, sometimes confrontational approach of men. Given the current unstable, chaotic, and down-right dangerous state of the world, I mused, we need every bit of help, every useful suggestion, to move us through this turbulent period in human history, and on to a more peaceful, balanced, harmonious place in our collective state of existence.

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What Hope – Women Entrepreneurs in France?

I was looking through the Women’s Forum’s “The Book” recently and a quote from one of the sessions at the 2012 Deauville “Global Meeting” conference, entitled “Can economic austerity be an opportunity for women?” caught my eye :

“In France, the dialogue between the government and the private sector is very poor. At the end of the day, it’s not surprising that the decisions taken by government are far from what the private sector expects.”

Given that this quote was uttered by Agnès Audier, Partner and Managing Director of The Boston Consulting Group, and a highly respected professional who’s previously held senior advisory positions in both the private and public sector… she must know what she’s talking about. The next headline, further down the page, made me gulp even more: “In France, 90% of women entrepreneurs do not draw a salary”.

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International Women’s Day 2013…

Being a British professional and single mother living in Paris, I fully understand the trials and tribulations that women have to face in their working lives, in France and the wider world.

That is why I was interested to commemorate “International Women’s Day” this year, yet again, by attending the Franco-British Chamber’s conference entitled “Women and Corporate Social Responsibility: What role for business?”, being held at the sumptuous British Ambassador’s Residence located in the heart of Paris.

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