This panel was moderated by Angela Buttolph (Grazia) and featured Verrity Hardy (UK public policy for Google and worked for Nick Clegg), Polly Vernon (Columnist and Feminist) and Mary Porter (Portas agency and celebrity "Mary Queen of Shops").
Brought to us by Grazia, the introductory comments referred to the fact that people didn't believe a weekly glossy would success! Now even have achieved success through petition to House of Lords for equal pay for women for companies with > 250,000 employees
When did you know you were a feminist?
Mary realised at Harvey Nichols when seeing it was a business aimed at women was run by men. She said "I think it's important that we continue the debate for this generation and the next". She had to suppress the way she was and make it logical and rational because that's how men have made business. The voice of the women always had a little emotion and culminated with Cameron saying "Calm down, dear".
Are we moving into an era where words that put down women are unacceptable?
Verrity says there has been improvement in racism and homosexuality but women's rights are still lagging. Women still die from domestic violence and still can't vote in some countries.
In tech, is it more female friendly? Facebook and Apple offer egg freezing. Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer have done so well.
Verrity Hardy (Google): The tech companies were founded by men and there are still more men in engineering and tech because that's the talent pool. We are missing out on 50% of talent pool.
But do women really want to be in politics?
Current speaker has introduced changes like more family friendly hours.
Transparency is hugely important and Google have recently released their gender employment details.
What is hot feminism, Polly?
A book about being own type of feminist however you chose without rules. "I want to be hot for as long as possible!".
What about social media?
Mary Portas: The pressure with social media on young girls with instant pictures and projecting perfection needs to be broken!
Verrity Hardy (Google): It's more acceptable to say you are a feminist and social media is great for spreading these role models that like Caitlin Moran on Twitter.
Mary Portas: Women have such power in buying, 80% of buying decisions are made by women, and yet so underrepresented in advertising. Where are the women? It's like politics but women don't want to be put into the lair. (Polly Vernon) Recurring adjectives: shrill, vacuous, arrogant
Polly gets a lot of other women who have a go. A lot of misdirected anger. Because of social media there is the perpetual invitation to speak all the time.
The demise of the high street, is that a direct rejection by women?
No. Mary focussed on creating social infrastructure going beyond just the demise of the high street, given that libraries are also closing etc. The government with planning laws have pushed small businesses out and allowed big businesses to thrive. Across the country, town teams are being set up, especially by women, to bring the high street back. We have changed with the internet doing online shopping, we want to buy little, more often and local. Now the big supermarkets are dying out and trying to be local and on the high street. I think in 2025, brands will create experiential places. The bar has been raised. People go to Selfridges for the experience. It will be more about community groups and coffee bars where people with mutual interests can come together. The consumer will be king and the local high street will be around socialisation.