Media: Horlick’s fight offers ray of hope to other women

Thank you Nicola Horlick. You’ve done a great job for the entire newspaper trade, and career mothers too. I can’t remember enjoying a story so much. Such a relief to have something other than pre-election politics and Princess Di to read about.

Thank you Nicola Horlick. You’ve done a great job for the entire

newspaper trade, and career mothers too. I can’t remember enjoying a

story so much. Such a relief to have something other than pre-election

politics and Princess Di to read about.



When I turned up bleary-eyed last Sunday to present Sky’s paper review,

the male newsroom team was swift to agree with me on the front page

image of the weekend: superwoman bottle-feeding her youngest child. A

domestic and earthy image on page one: that is a coup.



But there are media lessons to draw from this saga of modern times,

brought to us with the help of professional PR.



A lot of rubbish has been spouted about Horlick’s conduct setting back

the cause of equality by years: this was the spin of the Independent on

Sunday, (competently relaunched at the weekend, as it happens by new

editor and sole woman to run a broadsheet, Rosie Boycott).



Horlick has done the opposite. She was not dismissed for being unable

to juggle a large, young family and work: the funds she managed had

risen four-fold. Deutsche Morgan Grenfell feared she was leaving, taking

her team with her.



As her campaigning desire to clear her reputation demonstrates, this is

not a woman who has run out of steam. She is a gutsy fighter, raring to

go. Full marks, too, for the way her husband, who also works in the City

was kept invisible. The mortgage will get paid.



Horlick’s performance has conclusively knocked on the head the current

media myth - that career mothers would really prefer to chuck it in,

stay at home and leave the office to the chaps - dream on Daily

Telegraph.



But what of the hard-headed view of the Financial Times, taken up by the

rest of the pack, that her combative fight back has been negative and

ruined her chances of ever working in a similar job again? Certainly

Horlick has conceded that her goal has changed - she is seeking

settlement not reinstatement.



Her use of the media suggests that she has decided to seize the moment,

and promote herself. Why return to the fundamentally dull world of fund

management, however grossly overpaid, if there is a more amenable world

elsewhere? I don’t know whether her fame has gone to her head, but there

are obvious new openings for such a daring woman of the world to try,

apart from becoming her own boss and running her own investment

fund.



It may well be that talk of Horlick becoming a Labour MP, or an adviser

to an incoming Labour Government is not that far-fetched - her lifestyle

alone should secure her instant access to the ranks of champagne

socialists.



So it was not a perfect campaign, but it achieved its purpose. We

haven’t heard the last of Nicola Horlick.



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