IN the week of International Women’s Day two men managed to behave more like international cretins.
First we had DJ Pat Sharp, delivering the kind of tasteless “joke” that would have probably gone unremarked upon a decade or two ago.
During an industry event in London he gave a businesswoman a T-shirt adorned with an old photo of him, complete with his signature 1990s mullet.
But clearly it’s more than that hairdo that’s still stuck in that decade, as he then proceeded to make a crass joke about her breasts.
Understandably, she burst into tears and later wrote she felt “humiliated” and “violated” by the incident, which took place in front of 400 colleagues.
She said: “I have worked incredibly hard to earn my reputation and hopefully be an inspiration to other young women in the events industry.
“Yesterday, however, I was belittled, sexualised and objectified in front of hundreds of people I respect.”
No doubt there will be some people accusing this woman of not being able to take a joke. Or explaining it away as “banter”.
But what happened next got me thinking about the progress we’ve made.
In the 1990s she would probably have been branded a “feminist killjoy” or “too uptight”.
But thankfully, in 2023, Sharp lost his presenting job on Greatest Hits Radio with “immediate effect” — and rightly so.
We’ve moved on from the overt sexism and misogyny of the Nineties and things have clearly changed for the better.
The DJ has since apologised, saying: “Last Friday, I made a joke on stage which was not well received. I upset one individual in particular and for that I am truly sorry.”
To my ears, that sounds a bit like “I’m sorry you’re upset, luv” rather than being truly sorry.
But I guess, now he is leaving his job, he will have lots of time to reflect on that.
But the actions of Manchester City footballer Kyle Walker are even more serious.
In the week when jailed former Met Police officer Wayne Couzens was sentenced again, for indecent exposure, CCTV footage appeared to show Walker pulling down his trousers and exposing himself in a Cheshire bar.
In what universe does any man think it’s OK to get your penis out in public?
Police are investigating his alleged flashing offence and he may soon be questioned under caution.
The word “flashing” makes light of an act that is actually an aggressive form of sexual intimidation — and I’m pleased the world is finally waking up to this fact.
I was flashed in a department store when I was about ten years old.
It was bewildering, disgusting and shocking.
It is a serious criminal offence, which carries a custodial sentence of up to two years at its most severe.
I hope men realise they cannot get away with this behaviour any more.
They must treat all women with respect and as equals — or face the consequences.
Plenty of women understand that times have changed . . . Why don’t more men?
Parent trap is on mum
FOR many families, the cost of childcare is now unfeasible.
The average annual hit for a full-time nursery place for a child under two is now close to £15,000 – up by 5.9 per cent in the past year.
The availability of places has also decreased.
All this hits families hard – and I say families deliberately, rather than women.
It is one of my bugbears that the cost of childcare is so often referred to in relation to the salary of the mother, who must decide whether or not it is “worth” going back to work.
But childcare is the responsibility of both parents, not solely the mother.
The assumption seems to be that it is the mother who either cares for the child or is responsible for paying for the childcare, which all feels a bit archaic to me.
For a start, the idea that women return to work after having a baby purely for the salary is so limiting.
Women work for so many reasons other than money, especially once they have become mothers.
It is good for children to see their mothers as independent women.
The problem is, though, that as long as childcare remains so expensive, too many women will see going back to work as a pipe dream.
What we need as a country is a government focus on affordable, subsidised childcare that makes it accessible to more people than those rich enough to afford it.
This needs to be a priority for lots of reasons.
Not least because a workforce that has working mothers in the mix is richer and more valuable.
IT’S no surprise that Sir David Attenborough, national treasure that he is, has been crowned the greatest British TV presenter of all time.
The rest of the poll is a bit more surprising. Mainly because half of the top ten are no longer with us.
The late Sir Terry Wogan, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Les Dawson and Cilla Black also made the cut.
I guess we don’t make them like that any more.
The days of the whole family gathering round the telly on a Saturday evening to watch a beloved national treasure are long gone.
And that makes me feel a bit sad.
Slimming jab may not be so clever
I’M in two minds about news that the weight-loss jab hailed as a “game-changing” drug in Britain’s battle against the bulge has been given the green light by the NHS.
Semaglutide, sold under the brand name Wegovy, works by hijacking the brain to suppress appetite and reduce calorie intake, resulting in substantial slimming.
It is said to have helped celebrities such as reality star Kim Kardashian, right.
Trials found those using it had lost around 12 per cent of their bodyweight – and slashed their chances of Type 2 diabetes by more than half.
Experts have hailed it as a “pivotal moment” in the fight against obesity, and obviously all that can only be good news.
But should it really be available for prescription on the NHS?
Or does that risk sending a message to our kids that it’s OK to eat what you want, get as fat as you like, gorge on food, waste money and then just get a slimming jab instead of simply taking responsibility and eating less?
Have a heart
THEY are described as man’s best friend with good reason.
We all think our dogs are the best, and we’re right, of course. (But mine really is the best!)
So my heart was shattered watching footage this week of a cruel owner dump his loyal pet by the side of the road.
The stricken German Shepherd continued to run after the man’s car as he sped off.
We are the centre of our dog’s universe.
They give us their love and trust unconditionally.
Imagine how confused the poor, abandoned dog must have felt.
Who could do that? For goodness sake, have a heart.
If you are unwilling or unable to take care of your dog, then at least drop them off at a shelter.
This way, you give a chance at a better life, at least better than the one you gave it.
Well done James
I SO admire James Nesbitt for getting stuck into fatherhood, after his girlfriend had a baby with another man.
James split briefly from actress Katy Gleadhill two years ago, before she conceived with a friend.
But the Cold Feet star, who has two children with his ex-wife, has apparently rolled up his sleeves to get hands-on with the baby.
How thoroughly modern he is and what a love story.