I’m back from a conference in Birmingham that saw about 130 women get together to discuss how to establish themselves in one of the most male dominated working areas: engineering. I met very well rounded and structured ladies, with personalities strong as carbyne (the new world’s strongest material) and CV’s that would turn pale even the CEO of Microsoft.
Julia King, successful engineer and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (!), held an outstanding speech. I particularly loved when she mentioned rights at work being equal for both women and men (who can get paternity pay and leave too). I believe merit makes no difference in gender and that equality for women is rather well established here in the UK.
But it is not all a bed of roses. While attending the workshops, I could not refrain from wondering: how’s the personal life of a women with an incredibly successful career? Do these women ever find time to prepare a soup? I know, I know, homemade soups are not that big deal. You can live without (right?). However, everything homemade is the emblem of quality time spent on ourselves and our beloved ones and I wouldn’t like to miss those moments.
How many nannies do you need to change to raise your children, how many ready made meals do you need to bring back home after 12 hours at work? A woman in power (and not just in career) looks to me almost like a tightrope walker that if loses balance can only land on an intricate web of duties and get trapped in them. Just it like happens to men in power, of course.
It goes without saying that the more those ladies were telling their stories of success the more my curiosity grew: I wanted to know more about their work-life balance. I approached a few of them and asked something “personal” to get my doubts unveiled.
No remarkable answer: either they have never had children or they had kids only after they started to work for themselves, at home. Draw your conclusion, mine is all in the idea that I cannot imagine a female CEO of a big company rolling wine leaves, cutting the potatoes, stir frying them with crispy savoy cabbage to prepare her children a genuine homemade soup such as this one below. It may be the case that to have more women with both top careers and children we just need to leave more men at home :).
Savoy Cabbage and Potato Soup
- 1 potato chopped
- 1 salad onion
- 5-6 savoy cabbage leave cut in stripes
- 2 tablespoons Greek Yogurt
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 slices of bread
- 2 tablespoons grated Leicester Cheese
- Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion and potatoes, season well, then reduce the heat and cover the pan.
- Gently cook for about 10 mins until starting to soften, then add the stock bring to the boil. Add the cabbage, cut in stripes.
- Simmer for 10 mins more.
- Blend he soup in the food processor until smooth and leave a few potatoes in the pan.
- Pour the soup in bowls, season to taste, add the remaining potatoes and serve with a sprinkle of grated Leicester cheese.