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01st April 2007 India Bourke

A Woman’s World: Rita Chakrabarti

For the intrepid few who come to university with a child, the skills needed to manage these two incredibly demanding responsibilities are already being wielded. To the rest of us, however, the prospect of making the most out of both kids and a career remains an enigma. Rita Chakrabarti a successful BBC television journalist and mother of three, recently helped clear those Wuthering-Heights inspired, feminine mists that gather around the subject in a talk she gave at Exeter this Hilary term. Having been there, done it and got the baby wipes she was able to generously impart a few trade secrets. The first of these was to be ultra-organised. Living up to the needs of a child and a job may mean there is little spare time left in a day. In this situation finding a career that you love, but that is manageable in terms of schedule and location, is important. Once the perfect job has been secured, the perfect (supportive) man should be next on the hit list! This may seem a daunting task, but Rita reassuringly claims that men are much more collaborative now than the previous generation (I hope my male housemates are reading this!). Finally, there probably will never be an ideal time to make room for those stork-delivered-bundles, but perhaps the most essential advice is not to miss out on placing an order! Listening to the experiences of Rita and our own rector was heartening and at times hilarious (especially one multitasking nightmare involving a home-made lunch appointment with a multinational boss, a four-year-old and a blender!). These events will hopefully continue to be a great women’s forum within the college.

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