I am writing this blog as we get nearer the end of the initial 3-week lockdown period which I’m certain will be extended. It is likely the lockdown measures will have to stay in place until the Government have got the evidence that clearly shows we’ve moved beyond the peak.
Whilst I’m sure most of the UK have abided by the lockdown rules, I can’t believe some of the idiotic behaviour of others. I saw a picture yesterday of an overturned caravan on the M5 in Devon and the traffic jam behind the accident showed a queue of camper vans and cars piled high with bikes and surf boards, all heading to Devon and Cornwall for the Easter which is just crazy. The police have now put roadblocks in place on the M5 and A303, the two main roads leading into the South West and I am sure other parts of the country such as the Lake District have had to do the same.
Some aspects of social media are driving me crazy too. With my background in sales, I also have a good grasp of marketing, so I fully appreciate social media for all the good it brings. In fact, my own blog is only getting coverage because of it. Twitter has been my most successful platform, followed by LinkedIn and Instagram. However, for all the good social media can do, it’s a terrible breeding ground for vile abuse, especially Twitter.
There is a good deal of information supporting the fact that Politics is ruining most social media platforms and on Twitter people hide behind their faceless profiles to throw out continuous abuse. I believe we should be respectful of other people’s views and everyone has the right to their opinion. Imagine if we were all the same, how boring would that be! No matter what our political view, I was horrified at some of the vicious and completely “barking mad” comments I saw when Boris Johnson was taken to hospital and subsequently Intensive care. All I can say is these people must lead a very sad life! Don’t get me started on our journalists either or I’ll be ranting all day 😊.
For people with autoimmune disease it’s also a difficult time. Understandably, rheumatology departments are closing as staff get redeployed. The charity NAAS (The National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society) is working tirelessly to provide up to date advice in relation to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. Record numbers of people are now turning to NASS for support and their helpline and advice service is only possible thanks to donations. It is likely the demands on NASS (and other charities like them) will increase further, there are so many people are working hard behind the scenes to help all of us.
I love the Thursday night clapping for our NHS too. Our road was a bit rubbish on the first Thursday, but we have got better and last night was our best ever led Jamie’s vuvuzela, a plastic horn typically used at football and cricket coupled with my pan and wooden spoon. The scenes on Westminster bridge (which I saw on Twitter 😊), were also impressive. Our family has relied on our NHS, me with my AS and my beautiful granddaughter who had open heart surgery when she was younger, so we have witnessed first-hand how lucky we are to have such a wonderful service.
Jamie and I have adapted well to the lockdown. To limit our exposure, we only shop every 2 weeks and, yes, it is a major planning exercise working out all our meals. Jamie does the supermarket shop for which I am very grateful. Although, interestingly, women are generally less susceptible to infectious diseases than men but are more often prone to autoimmune diseases. This higher prevalence is partly attributable to the X chromosome, which has many genes relating to the immune system. It is advantageous for women to have two X chromosomes.
But there is a flip side to this super-strong immune response: it can turn on us. When the immune system creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissue, it results in an autoimmune disease. Among people with autoimmune diseases 80% are women, however, strangely this is different with Ankylosing Spondylitis as more men are affected than women.
Taking this into account, while infection rates may be equal, recent data suggests death rates for COVID-19 are hitting men harder at 2.8% compared to 1.7% of women who are infected. It’s a pattern that has persisted. SARS, MERS, and even the flu pandemic of 1918 saw disproportionate death rates among men.
It’s an interesting metaphor to me; during the peak of my career in the City, I was lucky enough to work with some wonderful women who I’m still in touch with today. In the early 2000’s there was a lot of focus on increasing diversity and, particularly, the number of women in senior positions.
It is a well known fact among us women that we have a tendency to attack ourselves with the feeling that we’re not good enough, or we’re going to be “found out” that we’re frauds. It’s a phenomenon that is sometimes referred to as a silent career killer. I certainly felt like this at times and, whilst I loved working with other women, my workplace was mostly male dominated. I remember being part of a presentation team to a well-known Japanese bank where, out of the 16 attendees, I was the only woman! This is continuing to change and improve all the time. In our current business, Jamie and I place financial technology and technology sales and marketing people into technology companies and about 40% of our placements are women so we are making great progress.
Supporting women in business has also been a real passion of mine. Over the last 10 years there has been increased evidence showing that women directors can help companies gain competitive advantage and increase profits, and that companies that have women on their boards outperform those that do not. I was also involved in a large project for a major technology company to report back on how they could retain and increase the number of women in their employment. I found the research for this project fascinating and I loved contributing to it.
On that “Girl Power” note, thank you for reading and sharing my blog. Enjoy your time at home, keep safe and keep clapping.
Until next time xxxx