JO DAVISON: Career women, there’s no shame in saying no

Staying in London: Left, Sian Williams with fellow presenter Bill Turnbull.
Staying in London: Left, Sian Williams with fellow presenter Bill Turnbull.
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I DON’T care what they say about doing their job as well as any man.

I believe there comes a point in the life of every woman who has both high-flying career and family when she doesn’t want to.

When, no matter how passionate she is about her work, she cannot bring herself to think with the cool, hard logic of a man. And make a decision solely on logic and finances when she knows the upshot will be colossal, emotional and potentially damaging for everyone but her.

It looks like the BBC’s best Breakfast presenter Sian Williams has just reached her personal crossroads.

She cannot make the gut-wrenching decision to uproot her four children and move them to another part of the country to start a new life, make new friends, be the new boys at school. Not just for the sake of her seat on the red morning sofa.

It is too much. When the BBC moves a huge chunk of its production up north to Salford, she will be staying put in London, where her family are settled and happy.

Good for her. Though I suspect there will be many back-stabbers at the Beeb calling her a wimp and a traitor to the career woman’s cause.

She knows damned well there will be plenty of pert, size six bottoms eager to take her seat in Manchester. TV is a highly competitive world - and while women champion the sisterhood’s efforts at raising the glass ceiling for all, it is fact that the most ambitious are ruthless solo players who will trample a vampy stiletto over anyone in their path if it means they can lever themselves another inch.

For sure, such career players will be amongst the 1,500 London staff moving to Salford.

Sian must know, too, that quitting one of the best jobs on the box could signal a major career meltdown.

Beeb bosses will not be happy that she won’t make the move. Some will probably view it as a lack of dedication to the job - and a refusal that could be seen as a major snub to the north.

But clearly what is more important is that she’s has had enough. She says she’s spent a decade getting up with the dawn chorus and leaving home while her children slumber.

What has gone unspoken is mother guilt. I expect she’s riddled with it. The satisfaction she gets from a job well-done will vaporise every time her children tell her they wish she was around more.

Career women, remember - there is no shame in saying no.