Tuesday, February 17, 2009


My last term of taught lectures at uni has started.  It looks busy but interesting - work-life balance, a work-based project, a presentation on professionalism, a career plan and some group work - at the end of all this I will become a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and be able to put letters after my name.

I'm hoping to go on to do my dissertation and become a Master of the Universe... sorry, a Master of Science.  I'm not sure how scientific 'housing practice' is really - it's more a social than a pure science.

Currently I'm really interested in how employers allow people to balance work and life, and more importantly, why, and what effect this has on people.  And, looking at it from a gender perspective, what effect does it have on the ability for men and women to achieve equality?  Mostly women take up flexible working options - that's because mostly, caring work falls to women.  Does this marginalise women by presenting them as collectively less committed to work?  Are work-life balance policies going to change much while men tend to earn more than women, making it economically more viable in dual-income heterosexual couples for women to reduce their hours?  Why is it assumed that women will drop everything to pick up a sick child?  Is it becoming more acceptable for men to take paternity leave or reduce their hours?  To what extent is it possible to have equality when it is women who do the pregnancy and labour thing?  What does 'equality' look like anyway?

I love looking at things from a gender perspective...

Sunday, February 08, 2009


I spent yesterday being literary at Tatton Hall - the highlight of the day was a poetry reading by Wendy Cope, but there was also an interesting discussion about 'Get into Reading', a way of using reading groups with different groups such as people with dementia, mental health problems, learning disabilities, by reading books aloud on a weekly basis and then discussing them - I wondered whether this would work on my estate as a way of bringing different people together, but think I'll probably never find time to implement it...  Char March also read a story she had written about her relationship with her mother - as I was at the even with my mother, it was interesting to think about how our relationship has changed and how it might change in the future.

So here's my favourite poem Wendy read:


She was Eliza for a few weeks
When she was a baby - 
Eliza Lily.  Soon it changed to Lil.

Later she was Miss Stewart in the baker's shop
And then 'my love', 'my darling', Mother.

Widowed at thirty, she went back yo work
As Mrs Hand.  Her daughter grew up,
Married and gave birth.

Now she was Nanna.  'Everybody
Calls me Nanna,' she would say to visitors.
And so they did - friends, tradesmen, the doctor.

In the geriatric ward
They used the patients' Christian names.
'Lil,' we said, 'or Nanna,'
But it wasn't in her file
And for those last bewildered weeks
She was Eliza once again.