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Cocktail rings, the sexist book prize and feel good children's literature

"Thundercats are on the move, Thundercats are loose..."

Hello and welcome to the past where suit-clad dinosaurs roam the earth, sexism reigns supreme and women are castigated for stating the bleedin' obvious. There is a silver lining, of sorts. We get to wear cocktail rings again.

So first to the good news, and as this reporter was saying, cocktail rings are making a comeback, big time. The fashion pack has declared an end to minimalist jewellery and instead the mantra is very much "go big or go home".

The rings, which usually feature a colourful gem like an emerald, have been given a mighty great boost in popularity again since the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, wore Princess Diana's Aquamarine cocktail ring to her evening wedding celebrations.

Try the Ophelia cocktail ring, available from Aspinal, for size. But whatever your choice, do ensure the gem is sufficiently gargantuan that its light shines as brightly as the ruby in the Thundercats' sword.*

Clasp that light close to your chest as we are going to need it. Things are about to get darker...

Best-selling author Marian Keyes has spoken of her "grudge" against the Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction this week, saying it has never shortlisted her work, and has only gone to a woman three times in its 18 year history.

Marian was speaking at the Hay literary festival where the winner of the Wodehouse award is traditionally announced but this year judges declined to award the prize to any of the 62 books submitted - including Marian's own 'The Break' - on the basis none "incited the level of unanimous laughter we have come to expect".

At the event Marian said: "Say what you like about me but my books are funny. What more can I do to qualify?" She continued that there was a sexist imbalance when it came to the Wodehouse Prize which only confirmed a societal consensus that the things men enjoy are automatically given extra weight - that ultimately men are considered more important.

'The Break' has reached number one this week in the British Bestsellers List, so quite frankly who's laughing now.

The chief executive of Qatar Airways has ignited a sexism row after saying only a man could do his challenging job. Akbar Al Baker made the comments moments after becoming chair of the aviation industry body's board of governors.

At a press conference in Sydney, where the International Air Transport Association held its annual meeting, he was asked what could be done to tackle the lack of women in Middle East aviation. Al Baker replied this was not the case at Qatar before adding: "Of course, it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position".

Qatar Airways has had an abysmal reputation for its treatment of its predominantly female cabin crew, at one time firing them for being pregnant and enforcing contractual bans on marriage without express company permission.

Women working in Asian factories supplying clothes to Gap and H&M are being sexually and physically abused when they fail to meet tight deadlines. Two reports published by Global Labour Justice on gender-based violence reveal descriptions of the threats and abuse suffered by more than 540 workers at factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka as a direct result of pressure for quick turnarounds and low overheads.

One worker in an H&M supplier factory told researchers she was beaten as punishment for not meeting production quotas. "My batch supervisor came up behind me as I was working on the sewing machine, yelling, 'You are not meeting your target production'.  He pulled me out of the chair and I fell to the floor. He hit me, including on my breasts. He pulled me up and then pushed me to the floor again and kicked me".

Gap and H&M said they would investigate the allegations. This reporter suggests we all think a little more carefully about our future clothing purchases.

Our light is shining a little dimly. Let's perk ourselves up a bit with the news that 10.7 million UK adults have reported turning to a favourite children's novel to induce feelings of calm and happiness. And The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe written by C S Lewis came out on top as the childhood novel the nation's grown-ups most wanted to read again. Other favourites include Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden and E S Nesbit's The Railway Children, cheerily both written by women.

This reporter concludes that when it comes to harking back to the past, nostalgia comes best cherry picked.

Altogether now - "Thundercats Ho".

*Unapologetic 80's children's TV show reference there

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