A couple of decades ago my late husband Bruce, then chief executive of a TV company, and I, were dining with a group of television executives.
When Bruce momentarily left the table the man on my right — successful, educated, middle-aged — leered at me, groped my knee and announced: ‘If ever you get bored with the old man you know where to come.’
I swatted him off like an irritating fly, told him sharply to get lost and pointedly ignored him for the rest of the evening. The man who goosed me was irksome, clearly drunk and daft enough not to recognise the implications of making an improper suggestion to his boss’s wife.
However, I would argue that his fumble and ill-judged remark – although marking him out as boorish and stupid – didn’t make him sexist. To have made a fuss would have been to exaggerate my sense of grievance and, more pertinently, to demean women who had proper cause for complaint.
That is why this week I found myself bridling at the comments of United Nations special rapporteur Rashida Manjoo, a South African expert on human rights looking at violence against women in the UK, who had the temerity to accuse Britain of being more sexist than any other country in the world, due to our ‘boys’ club sexist culture’.
I have to take issue with her on many levels; not least because women in Britain today are both privileged, high-achieving and in my view, quite capable of standing up for ourselves.
Indeed, not only are we shattering glass ceilings, we are also usurping men in top jobs and dominating many professions.
Read Kathy Gyngell’s full article for the Daily Mail here.