Women still struggling to have careers and babies, says HR firm

hr-dept-hi-resA leading HR firm has called for a major overhaul of the way Britain caters for parents returning to work after a survey found that almost a third of SMEs are still concerned about employing women of child-bearing age.
Whilst the European Commission and the British Government attempt to legislate for greater equality in the workplace, Sue Tumelty, Managing Director of The HR Dept, argues that we will never gain genuine equality until we start providing parental leave enabling either the mother or the father to take paid leave following the birth of their children.
Ms Tumelty said: “Barbara Castle was way ahead of her time when she championed equal pay for men and women but little else has really changed since the 1970s. There are still very few women in senior management positions because once women decide to have families, it is virtually impossible for them to continue their career along the same path.
“In order to find part-time roles, mothers generally need to take jobs that require less responsibility, are less interesting and are less well paid. As a result Britain is missing out on so much talent.
“Campaign groups have achieved a huge amount to champion the rights of disabled people in the workplace and have successfully changed public attitudes, encouraging us to look at abilities rather than disabilities. We need that same kind of campaign to change hearts and minds, altering the way we perceive mothers at work so that we can recognise and value the talents and experience they bring to their roles.”
Ms Tumelty does not believe Government measures such as the compulsory audits on equal pay will succeed in improving equality and narrowing the pay gap.
“When women become mothers there is simply no way the majority can compete with their male colleagues,” she explained.
“What’s needed is a fundamental change in mindset where as a nation we take collective responsibility for all our children.
As a society, we need children to keep us all in our old age.
People without children must accept the need to support and protect parents during the child rearing ages.
“We need to allow and actively encourage both men and women to share responsibility as parents.
If we give both mothers and fathers the option to take parental leave, employers will no longer be able to discriminate against mothers. Couples would be able to choose which of them is in the best position to take a career break and which is best equipped to care for the children, without having to worry about loss of earnings or professional status.”

Playing at their expense-British MP’s invited to win back cash with InterPoker

In the midst of one of the most dramatic scandals ever to have rocked British parliamentary politics, InterPoker is offering UK MPs the chance to play online poker to win back the money they’ve been forced to return after taking a gamble with taxpayers’ money.

The politicians are alleged to have claimed for expenses that have enraged the public and several of them have had to give the money back. Leading poker game company InterPoker is now giving them one final chance to hold on to the cash, by entering into a heads-up poker tournament at www.interpoker.com.


Those invited to play include:

Peter Viggers £1,645 (spent on duck pond)

Michael Gove £7,000 (spent on furniture)
(Shadow Schools Secretary)

Oliver Letwin £2,000 (spent on pipe under tennis court)
(Chairman of the Policy Review)

Alan Duncan £5,000 (spent on gardening)
(Shadow leader of the house)

Hazel Blears £13,332 (tax)
(Communities secretary)

The site has made an extra special offer to Michael Martin, the first Commons Speaker forced to resign in more than 300 years.

Martin claimed £1,400 for using chauffeur-driven cars to travel around his constituency including trips to Celtic Park, home of Celtic Football Club. He is being offered the chance to win a Celtic season ticket with chauffeur-driven car to each game, if he accepts InterPoker’s offer to play in the online poker tournament.

A spokesperson for InterPoker commented:InterPoker is facilitating a challenge between these disgraced politicians and the public. We’re giving them the chance to win back their dignity as well as the cash if they manage to beat the public in a fair fight. We hope that they’ll take us up on our offer by visiting the site and registering for these very special online poker tournaments.

Interpoker MP tips – how to bluff your way to win

1. It’s ok to tell the truth sometimes don’t bluff for the sake of it but if you do bluff, ride it all the way through to the end.
2. Know your opponents, learn what they’re up to by keeping your eye on their game at all times and when the moment’s right, use this knowledge against them.

3. Play within your limits- don’t play with money that you can’t afford to lose.

4. Keep your cool, look em in the eye, and maintain your best poker face at all times!

InterPoker is one of the world’s fastest growing online poker sites. Launched in 2002 as the online poker arm of InterCasino (www.intercasino.co.uk), it has quickly become the poker room of choice for the discerning player.

For more information or to play, visit www.interpoker.com.

For media enquiries please contact Ben Mason or Clementine Hancox on 0207 405 0974 or e-mail clementine@hellounity.com.

Unit 110 Blackbull Yard
24 – 28 Hatton Wall


Mallika Sarabhai : MP Candidate from Gandhinagar for Lok Sabha 2009

The announcement by Mallika Sarabhai to contest the Lok Sabha elections of 2009 from Gandhinagar constituency, has been welcomed by a large spectrum of people from within Gujarat and from across the country, and from global Gujaratis.

Her campaign has received endorsement from many grassroots groups, activists and concerned individuals who believe with her that the time has come to bring change in the politics of our country.

Among the letters of support received from eminent personalities, a group led by Justice V R Krishna Iyer, has said, “We support the candidature of Ms Mallika Sarabhai, distinguished danseuse of international renown, for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Ms Sarabhai hails from the area, and enjoys considerable reputation among the artistic and cultural fraternity as well as ordinary citizens there. What is more significant, she has waged a spirited and consistent struggle on various fronts— judicial, social, cultural, political— against the forces of communalism and majoritarian extremism in the State since post-Godhara Gujarat carnage in March 2002. Continue reading


MP Candidate from Gandhinagar for Lok Sabha 2009

“Say Enough to all that is Wrong”

Mallika Sarabhai is standing as a candidate from the Gandhinagar constituency in Gujarat in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. She represents the Friends For Democracy, a collective of concerned groups and individuals who want to reclaim politics and democracy for the people.

Gandhinagar, of which Ahmedabad is a part, is Mallika’s home ground. Her local moorings in Gujarat make her the most fitting candidate to carry the voice of people from here to the national level. Her concerns, however, and work, have always extended beyond the boundaries of this territory. She is known as an eminent dancer and performing arts professional throughout the world. But her contribution to the women’s movement in India, livelihood generation and environment are seldom discussed in the public arena. Mallika’s remarkable energy in using the arts for change, communication for development and alternative has made a difference in many lives across the country.

In her path to the Lok Sabha, she seeks to represent all voices in striving for justice, inclusive polity, communal harmony, secular ideology and equal opportunity. She has been a fearless and outspoken Indian, despite all the obstacles that she has faced in being so. Continue reading

Get in the picture – learn a new skill.

Adult education is fast becoming the turning point for many people seeking to retain or learn new skills. With growing numbers entering adult education Westminster Adult Education (WAES) is responding to that growth.

WAES is one of the largest providers of adult education in the country, offering over 1,000 courses across 80 sites in the city.

WAES’ Head of Service Barbara Holm said, “We know adult education can change lives, so we make sure our courses reflect real demand. We recognise the commitment our students make, and we reward that by providing as much flexibility and support as possible.”

Last year WAES helped over 8,000 students learn a new skill enabling them to enhance their job prospects with some getting a job as a direct consequence.

At age 30, student Nina Hollington gave up her secure job to pursue a lifelong dream career in photography. “WAES offered a reasonable price for my accredited BTEC course, and it had a brilliant, flexible approach. I was also amazed that of all the providers I contacted, only Westminster encouraged an interview to discuss what type of course might be right for me.

The course is tailored to the needs of the group, which is great. The equipment was also a plus. Many courses just give handouts, but WAES uses a range of the latest equipment, including the innovative medium format digital technology that is fast becoming industry standard.”

Now a photographer’s assistant, Nina undertakes paid freelance work and notably made both BBC picture of the week and Time Out magazine with her iconic photo ‘The Silent Tango’. “That was a real boost,” she said. “It came from homework – a photo story with an emphasis on losing your fear to get close to your subject. When I saw the tango, I realised I had to get in the midst of it, so I ended up lying on the floor in Waterloo station. I wouldn’t have dared before.
Nina is one of many students who have gone onto to achieve great things and with WAES’ help you could do the same so why not explore the possibilities.
For course information please cal 020 7297 7292 or visit the website at www.waes.ac.uk

WAES Opens £30,000 IT Suite at The Abbey Centre

On 18 February 2008, Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES), in partnership with Abbey Community Association, are launching the new purpose built IT suite at The Abbey Centre in Great Smith Street, SW1. The Lord Mayor of Westminster will officially open the event.

Having spent £30,000 to install the new IT suite at The Abbey Centre, WAES hopes the new facilities will encourage people out of work and those in the community who may not have access or knowledge of computers to develop their computer skills and personal and gain work skills and qualifications.

The IT suite now comes complete with laptops, wireless internet, four smart boards and other IT equipment spread over five rooms which will increase training courses and allow a variety of computer based courses together with WAES’ Employability Award and the Citizenship Test Preparation to run.

Through the NLDC (Neighbourhood Learning in Deprived Communities), WAES has been working with and organising courses at The Abbey Centre for over ten years. Together they have been providing further education and training to local residents and their families living in South Westminster and the wards of Churchill, St. James, Tachbrook, Vincent Square.

The NLDC Project Manager Alex Daher said the project will meet the needs of the beneficiaries by offering community learning and training for employment programmes in familiar local community locations.

“We are hoping to attract a range of learners whose aim is to get back into the workforce after an absence. We also aim to attract learners who wish to improve their job prospects by offering courses at the local centre for learners where as traditionally they would have had to travel to a nearby college,” Alex Daher said.

John Ryan, Chief Executive of Abbey Community Association, added, “Learning has always been at the heart of our 60 year history. Long may it continue with the help of this new IT facility.”


On February 16 in Reykjavik, Iceland, the Organization for Civic Action will host a debate on the state of the nation in the wake of the economic crisis and the collapse of the Icelandic banking system.

Keynote speakers are economist Haraldur L. Haraldsson, psychiatrist Andres Magnusson and Adalheidur Asmundsdottir, law student. The newly installed centre left government has been invited to partake in the subsequent panel discussion, as have the chairs of the opposition political parties. Based on the experience of past civic meetings, the government is likely to attend. After the keynote talks, questions for the panel will be taken from the audience.

The meeting will focus on the current situation and progress made since October, when what the Economist has described as “the biggest banking failure in history relative to the size of an economy” occurred in Iceland. People are concerned whether the response so far by the government has proven sufficient to meet the scale of the problems facing the country. As elections have been scheduled in the spring, and a new interim government is in power, this is a good time to pause, and reflect on where we are going and what the future looks like. Continue reading

Jeffrey Robertson tells the story of how he hid Salman Rushdie during the fatwa

Twenty years ago this week, the Ayatollah issued a fatwa against the author of The Satanic Verses. Then I brought him into my house to hide from the assassins.

It was twenty years ago, on St Valentine’s Day, that the Ayatollah Khomeini launched the mother of all prosecutions against Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, and his publisher Penguin Books. Like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, the Ayatollah chose to sentence first and try later—through a fatwa proclaiming the death sentence for blasphemy on all connected with publishing the book. One of its translators was in consequence murdered (“executed” as Iran preferred to say); the book was burnt at demonstrations throughout the world (twenty-two protesters were killed by police in Pakistan); and a $3 million bounty was offered for the author’s capture—alive or (preferably) dead. Soon afterwards, Salman came to stay for a short time.

For the full story click http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-02-09/hiding-salman-rushdie/.

The Bank of England’s 0.5% Base Rate Cut will not Increase Liquidity, nor Help Savers

It was widely predicted that the UK’s Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) would announce a further cut in base rate today. In line with consensus predictions, the rate has been reduced by 50 basis points, bringing the base rate down to a new all time low of just 1%.

Neil Young, CEO – Young Group, is concerned that this month’s cut in the UK’s base rate will not have the impact that the Bank of England hopes. “The further cut in base rate will benefit those lucky enough to be on tracker mortgages and some on standard variable rates if the lenders opt to reduce their rates, but in total that’s only around 35 per cent of mortgage holders.”

Up to 65 per cent of borrowers will see no benefit from the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) decision and are not in a position to change their mortgage for a more favourable product due to lenders’ restrictive lending criteria.

“The economy is crying out for liquidity but successive cuts in base rate have not made an appreciable impact on lenders’ willingness to provide credit. Whether purchasers and homeowners are looking for mortgages or businesses are seeking funding, lenders are still placing restrictive hurdles in their path,” continued Young. Continue reading

Exclusive interview with Somali pirate negotiator on The Daily Beast


Somali pirates were just paid $3.5 million—the largest ransom ever—for the release of a ship off East Africa. In an exclusive interview with the Daily Beast, negotiator Andrew Mwangura reveals the secrets of the murderers he does business with in this exclusive interview at The Daily Beast.