What kind of career advice did you get as young women?
Almost none! I have no memory of it ever happening.
What did you want to be when you left education?
A marine biologist, but then I realised I needed to be good at science! I then realised that I wanted to be a teacher which is what I became.
Did your mother work?
Yes, she was quite a high powered nurse working in the UK during the second world war, and in Germany immediately after the war. She stopped work when my older sister was born and never went back to paid work, but did a lot of volunteering.
Love and Relationships:
Do you think getting married is important?
In the past it was more important for a woman’s security, but that’s not the case now. I’ve been married for 43 years, so it has been very important to me.
What did you dream your future partner would be like when you were a little girl?
I honestly never dreamt like that.
Is your relationship with your partner the same as your parent’s relationship?
No. My father died when I was very young so my mother was a widow and single for most of my life.
How like your mother are you?
I think I’m quite like her, in that she was very generous, open-minded and her family was the most important thing to her. She was a very social person, and I’m more private.
What are your hopes for any daughters or young women that you know?
That they are fulfilled, happy and are able to do what they want with their lives.
Do you bring your son up in the same way as your daughter? Do you think boys and girls should be brought up differently?
I have three daughters and a son and they all had exactly the same toys when they were young. My son used the toys very differently as a little boy, which was really interesting. I treated them all the same, and I don’t think parents should treat any gender of child differently. I think pink and blue gender specific toys for children should be banned!
Expectations and Dreams:
Who are your heroines and why?
Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, Hilary Clinton, Georgia O’Keefe, Pippi Longstockings!
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Moving to Pakistan from the UK with three very young children. And having four children!
What drives you?
My love for my family.
What are your values?
Equality, justice, inclusiveness, equal education opportunities.
How old are you?
What is the best age to be and why?
I liked my 40s a lot, I was back at work after my kids had all started school. They were all happy and less dependent and I was more my own person. But generally the age I am now is where I’m happiest.
Do you think it’s better to be young now than when you were young? Or better now than when your parents were young?
In some ways nowadays the young are more mature, together and wordly wise than my generation were in their youth, but many opportunities that I had when I was young are simply not available for my children. For example, buying a house, access to free university education, a secure job, these things are so hard for so many young people now.
What are the pros and cons of being a woman?
The cons are that we still live in an unequal world, there is no parity in work and pay. Women are still more vulnerable in relationships, especially difficult ones that go wrong. Many women are still treated as a second class citizen, and that’s just talking as a woman in the developed, Western world. In other parts of the world women are exploited and controlled, they suffer FGM, arranged marriages, virtual slavery. It is a very unequal world for women and girls.
The pros are that you have a different perspective on life and the world, we empathise better. As a woman you can be a mother too.
What have been the biggest challenges in your life?
Moving home many times following my husband’s career, never owning a house, not having much money.
Self image. body or looks:
Why do you dress the way you do?
Mixture of comfort and what I think suits me.
What would be your musical soundtrack?
Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Melanie, Leonard Cohen
Do you have a life motto?
It’s a phase.