Tomorrow sees the launch of Studio, Britain's first women's film magazine. Launched by Louise Robina Happé, a film fan who objects to generic film magazines being put in the men's section of WH Smith, it's aimed at women who love film and the launch edition includes an interview with Anne Hathaway, as well as tips from a Hollywood makeup artist and features on fashion. But much as I love film, I won't be buying it.
I know that there's an imbalance of female film makers, there are far too few female film critics and I despair at the rise of Disney princesses, but the answer is not to create an exclusive women-only world where women write about women and only women read it. We need better representation in mainstream magazines; we need to address the issues that mean women can't take part on the same basis as men; we need to raise the aspirations of girls and broaden their horizons so that they have a wide range of role models. We don't need a ghetto.
If that seems hypocritical coming from someone who runs a network for women, then maybe there's some misunderstanding about what Sophia Network exists for. We believe passionately that women and men need to work together in partnership in all areas of life; that's how we were created and if one sex is missing, or silenced, or disregarded then we all miss out. So yes, there are times when it's appropriate to do events or training for just women or just men. Our communication skills training, for example, was just for women so we could address the specific issues that women might encounter. Our leadership training programme for teenage girls takes place without boys around, because in our experience that enables those girls to participate fully rather than deferring to the boys as they tend to do in a mixed setting. But that single-sex work is always a means to an end - never our ultimate destination. We want to see women equipped to communicate clearly and passionately in whatever context they might find themselves, not just speaking to a group of women. We want to see teenage girls developing leadership skills and using them in lots of different contexts, not just to lead other groups of girls.
I'm concerned that there seems to be an increasing number of single-sex groups in the church - men's breakfasts and women's pampering evenings - that, like Studio, just seem to reinforce stereotypes and force us apart rather than addressing the more challenging task of encouraging and equipping men and women to communicate and work well together. So I won't be buying Studio magazine, but I will keep banging the drum for partnership and equality.