This year is fast shaping up to be a game changer for womankind, one which our wives, mothers and daughters could look back on and say ‘2016 made the difference’.
We now know that post-Brexit Britain will be led by a woman Prime Minister, although for many the choice between Home Secretary Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom, whose lack of experience was exposed after she suggested that, as a mother, she has more of a stake in the country than the childless May, is a bit like choosing which limb you’d rather have amputated first
But millions of us are hoping that whoever 150,000 Tory queenmakers choose will adopt a different kind of leadership from the autocratic style our only previous female PM, Margaret Thatcher, made her own. I
t may well be the vainest of hopes but the presence of a female boss in Downing Street could be a breath of fresh air after a quarter of century of largely unimpressive blokes.
Then you have the fact that Hillary Clinton stands a great chance of beating America’s brashest man, Donald Trump, into the White House and the world begins to look a lot different. Their ascent to the near pinnacle of the political pile must surely be a victory for women everywhere.
But the sisterhood has received an even bigger boost in the past week after a study revealed that women need more sleep because their brains are more complex.
Following this bombshell you could almost hear the cacophony of maniacal cackles drift out of living rooms up and down the land. The thorny subject of who needs the most sleep is one which has long caused domestic strife, especially when a relationship involves little people.
Children are the original sleep thieves and there is nothing that exhausted parents enjoy more than to bicker about who is closer to a nervous breakdown due to lack of shuteye. As a dad of an 11-month-old I am well versed in the art of pretending to be asleep and ignoring the exaggerated sighs of the other half as she makes yet another futile trip cotside. That’s not to say that the boot isn’t often on the other foot and when it is my turn for ‘night watch’ sympathy is usually as hard to find as rocking horse dung.
When I first learnt about the study my immediate reaction was to snort in response ‘so says some woman’ only to discover that the lead professor was a German called Martin. Professor Martin rubbed further salt into the wounds when he revealed that while lengthy sleep benefited the intelligence of women, it had little effect on the men.
The same academics found that men’s brain power is improved following naps which has been interpreted as ‘Men don’t need as much sleep as women. End of.’
While there is a good chance that our future prosperity could rest in the hands of May, Leadsom or even Clinton, the fact that science has put to bed one of the greatest disputes of modern times may have even longer lasting consequences.