The first winner of Masterchef, Thomasina Miers was one of London’s first pioneers of Mexican food. She went on to open Wahaca – 10 years on it is one of London’s most loved restaurants. Here, Thomasina answers our ‘what it means to be a woman in 2018’ Q&A, to mark 100 years of suffrage; the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed on 6 February 1918.
Thomasina Miers, Founder of Wahaca
It’s been 100 years since women were granted the right to vote in the UK – how far do you think women have come in the last century?
I think in some ways, in this country at least, some women have managed to forge their way and achieve great things but there are still so many things that hold women back even in the UK where we have made progress. If you choose to have a baby the cost of childcare makes returning to work impossible for some and laughable for most others. You can offset a chauffeur driven limo against self-employed earnings but not someone looking after your child.
Choosing to have a child is still the greatest thing that holds women back financially and exacerbates the earnings differential. I also think until we see more women in politics the system will continue to have a natural bias in areas like these. If more women were in politics we might see the prevalence of domestic violence higher up on the political agenda.
It is a shame that trolling on social media is still so easy with social media algorithms naturally pushing feminist messages towards trolls – this makes going into politics unappealing for many. And when are we going to have more grown-up debates on what is acceptable and unacceptable pornography?
In short there is a lot to be happy about but huge amounts still to do.
What does it mean to be a woman in 2018?
Rewarding, challenging, tough, invigorating.
What do women still need to achieve?
General acceptance of things like breast-feeding in public! More equality in the boardroom.
Your personal proudest achievement?
Having children and bringing them up with my husband, a daily challenge and source of joy. Winning Masterchef. Setting up Wahaca and winning so many awards on its behalf. Employing so many great people through Wahaca and seeing them grow.
Being paid to write about food by the Guardian and my publishers.
If you could teach young women one thing about being a woman it would be…
Listen to your gut and keep fighting for what is right. Have fun and rejoice being a woman – it is a great thing. But be kind to each other too!
And if you could teach young men one thing…
Accept that porn is fantasy, not reality!
Complete the following:
In the next 100 years, I hope women will…work with men to fight inequality, tolerate each other better and work towards safe-guarding the planets’ health for future generations.
Find out more about Thomasina’s work at thomasinamiers.com.