I enjoyed the grand finale of the Proms yesterday, the Last Night of the Proms. There were some brilliant contributions from the soloists Nigel Kennedy and Joyce DiDonato, as well as the classic rousing anthems! . . .

I noted beforehand that Marin Alsop was going to be ‘the first women to conduct the Last Night of the Proms’ but I did not think too much or deeply about it. A passing thought of good for her and why not a women?! At the end of the day give the best person the opportunity/job regardless of whether they are male or female.

When Marin gave her speech my ears pricked up at the statement, “ I have to say I’m still quite shocked that it can be 2013 and there can still be firsts for women.” The word ‘shocked’ stood out. It made me think, I wonder how many ‘firsts’ are still out there for women?

Should I be shocked at things women have yet to do? Maybe . . . perhaps it depends on the context and certainly if it relates to human rights, equality of welfare and opportunities, economic well-being etc. Equally, perhaps there are things we should be shocked at that men have yet to do?!

Marin finished her speech with, “I want to say to all the young women out there, as I say to all young people: believe in yourselves, follow your passion and never give up, because you will build a future full of possibilities.” Hopefully, it is what we all share at school, often and with passion, to our young people. But what encouraging and positive words for young people to hear from someone ‘up there on the stage’, who has achieved to such very high levels of music. I am pleased Marin made the time to share this to young people.