Well done ladies - now let’s hear it for the boys!

Daily Echo: Ian Murray and Andrea Waring Ian Murray and Andrea Waring

CONGRATULATIONS to Andrea Waring, pictured, the deserved winner of the Daily Echo’s business Mother of the Year Award this week.

The award, presented by yours truly at a glittering affair at Southampton’s Grand Café on Tuesday evening, was part of the city’s first Venus Women in Business Awards.

Andrea and fellow finalists in her category had impressed the judges – which in this case was all of you as it was a public vote – with their ability to juggle the demands of motherhood with a successful business career. In the case of Andrea her career is as a partner in her own legal office.

Bringing up her three sons, she told the assembled guests was, in her opinion, her most successful achievement. I suspect every mother in the land, whether in work or not, would put that achievement top of the list.

I will admit to taking my life in my hands as I awarded the trophy and musing to a room full of business ladies on whether we should have a Men in Business Awards. I would enter the Business Dad of the Year category, I announced, if only I could remember the names of my children. Of course, the joke fell flat, in part due to the fact it was by now rather late in the evening and many of the tables were – how can I put this tactfully? – a little over-excited and not really paying too much attention to the proceedings.

But there is a grain of truth in the line that it does not seem strange or out of place at all to stage an awards ceremony to celebrate women’s achievements, but to suggest the same for men would raise more than a few well-plucked eyebrows.

Not that Tuesday evening’s event was a full-blown, testosterone-hating coven of men-bashers. Far from it. Host and Venus Awards founder Tara Howard was at pains, it seemed, to make all the men there feel at home, referring to every chap called to the rostrum to present an award as a ‘hunk’ (with the exception of myself, I couldn’t fail to notice Tara) and liberally peppering her announcements with suggestive humour. The ladies all loved it.

As for the old cliché that women dress for each other whatever the occasion and not to impress men, Tuesday was proof positive. Certainly with the majority of participants being female this would have been an excuse to dress down. But the frocks were gorgeous, the styles and designs even to my untrained eyes, expensive and fashionably on the button (or Velcro fastener). The scale of plunging cleavages and – I’ll be brave here – saucy styles however, testimony to the fact there doesn’t need to be any (many) men there to impress for women to like to look stunningly sexy. But then again why would I, should I, expect to understand let alone (heaven forbid) appear to dictate or even comment or even (am I going far enough here?) suggest that I have the right to a thought pattern of any sort, on what women should wear at any function, whatsoever… I’ll shut up.

If we were to decide to stage a celebration of Men in Business we would have to keep in theme and it would no doubt be entitled the Mars Awards (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus), and have to turn up in dinner suits, but that would be a pity.

Let loose to do our own thing, I think we chaps should also be permitted to stage the awards on our own terms. No tight-fitting, boring monkey suits for us, we should be allowed to wear what we chaps don when out with the lads and looking to impress each other – football shirts, slightly-worn but extremely expensive trainers, baggy ill-matched shorts exposing pasty legs.

Instead of Business Mother of the Year or High Achiever, we would go for ‘Best Excuse for Working Late When You’re Actually Down the Pub’, ‘Hero Award for Completing a Full day With Hangover from Hell’, and the inevitable ‘Appearing to Work Hard on Your Report When Actually Streaming SKY Sports to Your Computer.’ We would call the awards The Roonies, after that well known styleicon who has managed so well to juggle his hectic and successful business life with family commitments. Top award prize would be a free hair transplant. Oh yes, just because we may give the impression we don’t care how we look, don’t be fooled ladies, don’t be fooled.

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