Stylist Magazine LifeLessons

It’s not often that I write a full lifestyle piece, but the Stylist magazine #LifeLessons event that I attended last week inspired me to educate and help others and also to better myself.  So whilst my thoughts and opinions may not be the same as yours or may not count, here are my thoughts on the event, and I leave you to form your own opinions.

#LifeLessons was the second event in the life lessons series to take place this year with the aim to celebrate inspirational women. The evening was held at the glamorous Ham Yard Hotel on September the 11th.

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 The event speakers were Leyla Hussein, a Physiotherapist, Survivor of FGM and co-founder of the Daughters of Eve charity. June Sarpong MBE, former TV presenter and co-founder of the Women: inspiration and enterprise Network and Kirstie Allsopp, property and Crafts expert, and famously know for the TV show Location Location.

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All three women had been asked to share their experiences and wisdom of the most important thing they had learnt to date.  Below are their stories:

Leyla Hussein told her her own personal story about how she endured Female Genital Mutilation and how this has affected her in her life to date. For those of you that don’t know what FGM is, FGM is when the female Clitorious, labia (skin around the Clitorous) are cut off.  In some extreme cases the skin is also sewn together to form a very small hole for a female to urinate or menstruate as well.  Whilst this sounds very crude, Leyla is from a Somalian community where performing FGM is a part of their culture and has been for many years.  At the age of seven Leyla was led by family members to have this operation performed.  She tried to resist but was restrained and held down and later given gifts.  Leila said “I felt everything. When I was cut it was like my soul was being cut”. No reason was given or has been given as to why this performed, and there are no proven medical benefits. So the question still exists as to why is this still happening?  Every year over 3 million people will undergo FGM.  Whilst FGM predominantly takes place in African countries, Asia and the Middle East, it is on the rise in the UK.  Leyla wants to spread the word about FGM and to start to put a stop to it.  In the UK parents can start by educating their children at home and the government can make FGM a part of a schools health education to educate Children on what FGM is and what our bodies should look like. To learn more about FGM and click here.

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June Sapong was the second speaker, her talk was on questioning your beliefs.  Whether we are bought up in a multi cultural society and deem ourselves to be very Liberal as June does.  We all have the natural instinct to judge people as we see them.  For example if I personally was walking home in the dark at 11pm at night and there was a male walking by himself with a hood up and by himself, I would probably be scared and quicken my pace.  This is just natural. Situations like this does make me question the stereotypes that are forced upon us by society and what our role is in creating them.  June gave us examples of how she has been judged and how she has judged others, also what steps she has taken to be more aware of herself.  In conclusion to June’s talk she highlighted how women are only too often judged by the way they look and in some cases or cultures are seen as being inferior to men.  June encouraged us to be aware and say “I am aware”.  Though our own awareness we can encourage others to also be aware.  June ended her talk with a quote by Marianne Williamson “Our deepest fear is not that we are adequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us”.

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Our final speaker on the night was Kirsty Allsopp, my all-time favourite property finder! This time Kirsty was not giving us tips on the perfect home craft or home location, but more on the controversial issue of a Women’s fertility window.  I first heard about Kirsty’s views from an interview with the Telegraph. Those few months ago I did question what my idol was actually saying! Not to go to University? Not to have a career? After hearing what message Kirsty was trying to spread, I fully support and agree with her view.  Kirsty wants all women to be aware of their fertility window.  We now all have the ability to do whatever we want at any age.  We can study, travel, learn a new language, change career, buy a house and get married at any age etc.  But what we can’t do as a woman is have a child at any age. Whilst our life expectancy has increased over the past few hundred years, the fertility window has remained the same.  With the 30’s becoming the new 20’s and every mile stone in our life being delayed we feel and look younger. Let’s face it with the many lotions, potions and surgery available to us all you could be 70 and look 40! All Kirsty wanted to highlight was that it does get harder to have children over the age of 35.  If you do want to have children and have a partner then be honest with them and get cracking and save yourselves the heartache later down the line, as you can have it all at some point but it may have to be later down the line.  People are being lied to and are under the illusion that you can just freeze your eggs.  The reality is that this is an unregulated industry, that no one really knows a lot about.  Not to mention the cost of freezing eggs and then the cost of getting them back in! There is also the cost of having a baby and the loss of income that needs to be considered. Kirsty highlighted what I already knew that employers need to be more flexible and the Government needs to improve it’s statutory maternity cover. Now all hurdles aside… I’m not saying that I’m going to be rushing home any time soon and putting away the bottles of red wine, but this was definitely food for thought and as Kirsty said “nature is not a feminist and that’s just the truth”.

What are your thoughts and opinions?

Mrs J xx

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