I was fortunate to attend the first-of-its-kind Marie Claire Power Summit in association with Audi, as my Mandela Day contribution, featuring keynote speaker, chair of Associated Media Publishing, author of Jane Raphaely Unedited and well-respected as the 'First Lady of SA magazines' Jane Raphaely.
In her opening keynote, which set the scene for the rest of the day, Raphaely noted that every day is Women’s Day at Marie Claire and her hope is to see this being the case everywhere. “Yesterday we lived in a man’s world. Today we live in a woman’s world.” But what are we doing about it? She asked. “I’ve seen many things happen and I am yet to see women achieving true equality.”
That said, Raphaely acknowledged that women have taken a huge leap forward in recent times. Technological developments in communications are a gift to those in publishing especially. “We are now able to speak with a united voice instantly and to everyone.”
Jane Raphaely's autobiography, Jane Raphaely unedited, is fascinating and fun, suffused with her moxie, offering a unique insight into the evolution of magazines and media in this country from the 1960s...
What we should be saying, or asking, is: ‘Why not?’. “Every day a woman defines what she would like changed. What she knows can be changed, she can argue it, she can demonstrate it, but in the end, she has to say, ‘Why not?’ and keep on saying it until it stops.”
Winston Churchill had one thing to say to everybody, she said, and that was: ‘Never, never, never give up.’ This too she sees as a gift and the answer. “It’s Winston, ‘Never, never, never give up’ and also never stop saying ‘Why not?’.”
Something Raphaely has discovered over the course of her career is that time is the most precious thing that a woman has. “You have to do in your time twice what somebody who you may be married to doesn’t have to do.”
She has spent much time during her career talking to retailers, trying to persuade them to give women more time. “We have suggested various means, obviously online shopping, obviously the use of artificial intelligence in telling us what we want to buy before we think of it, obviously free parking if we are going to go into their stores – and that free parking must be the nearest to the entrance, reserved for us.
“When you start saying, ‘Why not?’, it’s amazing how the answers come to you. It’s amazing how within a day or two you will bump into somebody who needs to hear that message from your lips, and once they understand that if they listen to you and give you what you want, they will get more of your disposable incoming as a result… and woman as customers are what every man wants because we are the spenders, we make it happen for them.
“So, now all you have to do is make them listen to you and you will get it. Why not?”
The autobiography of Jane Raphaely will be launched in Cape Town on 14 June 2012 at Exclusive Books, V&A Waterfront and in Johannesburg on 19 June at Exclusive Books, Hyde Park. The book will also be introduced at the Cape Town Book Fair, between 15 and 17 June.
29 May 2012
About the 2018 Marie Claire Power Summit
The Summit, which took place at The Lyric at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg on 18 July, was a celebration of the collective power of women, aimed at empowering, educating and equipping women from all walks of life with the knowledge and power to create social change in their communities and to take their careers and lives to the next level. The format comprised keynotes and panel discussions on the issues that matter right now, relating to business, the youth, the environment, and science and tech.
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