You’re wrong Lord Sugar, we still have to keep mum

Lord Alan Sugar
Lord Alan Sugar
Cheryl was lucky enough to sit next to 1980s pop star Sinitta, pictured here at a previous event   Picture: PA

CHERYL GIBBS: An embarrassing moment at a celebrity shindig with Sinitta

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Alan Sugar clearly classes himself as an authority on most things.

But I can categorically state that what he knows about being a woman could be written on the back of a stamp, with room to spare.

As a businessman he’s entitled to say what he likes about having women in his boardroom. He concedes a lot of them have been very good – shock horror.

But it’s alarming to see him use the House of Lords as his platform to sound off about what he thinks is wrong with the employment laws that give women a fair crack of the whip.

So confident is he that he’s right that he’s already dismissed any objections raised as ‘knee-jerk’. How very open-minded of him.

Yet it is right to point out why he has got it so badly wrong.

Women no longer have to face an interview panel with the added pressure of knowing someone is eyeing up their ovaries. Hurrah for equal rights because that wasn’t always the case.

Lord Sugar says women should be bolder about announcing their intentions to become a parent during an interview but then proves why that’s impossible.

Once we’ve got the tricky issue of fertility out of the way he expects us to get on with selling ourselves.

Aside from the fact that we don’t have to justify anything (and we have that framework of employment laws he was debating to thank for that) all we’ve ever wanted was a level playing field. Shining a light on your differences is like finding that field – and then shooting yourself in the foot.

It’s pretty patronising to think that women haven’t already thought about how they’re going to cope with the school run, or how they’ll juggle motherhood with working, before they’ve reached the interview stage. For the vast majority of mums, those issues are their concern. But they’ll just get on with it – so should he.

Let’s see where Lord Sugar’s suggestion that we should be bolder and more upfront gets us shall we? Out of the running for the job, that’s where.

No-one would dream of asking a man these things during an interview, or expect him to speak up. Why should women be penalised for keeping the world populated?