In a guest blog post Founder and Editor In Chief of Noon.org.uk, Eleanor Mills, tells us of her new venture which aims to help women in midlife find their next chapter.
Today at noon on International Women’s Day 2021 I launched Noon.org.uk a new media platform and community to empower women in midlife.
Over my 23 years at the Sunday Times (as a columnist, interviewer, Editorial Director and an award-winning editor of The Sunday Times Magazine) I managed to run a handful of stories which really connected with this older female audience. One was called The Forgotten Army, about all the women who take a break from their careers to raise children and somehow never go back. Another was a tale of a midlife woman who left her husband and home for her lover. All were big hits on social media and converted many readers to subscribe. Yet it wasn’t always easy to get these subjects into the paper. Older women are very much the demographic the mainstream media forgot; one of the last bastions for diversity. I’ve lost count of the number of times I was told to run a picture of a “younger” or “more glamorous” (code for “not that old boot”) woman. Women are still too often used in newspapers as eye-candy “to brighten up a page”. I’ll never forget the election apathy piece we illustrated with two girls in bikinis. “Election? We’re going to the beach…”
The effect of that kind of lens (one that as Chair of Women in Journalism I have banged on about) means too often the issues women from midlife and older demographics care about are marginalised or ignored. That is why we have created Noon; it’s a Gal Dem for midlife ladies, Refinery49 not 29. It’s a new community as well as a website which has grown out of some passionate conversations with amazing women (now on the Noon Advisory Board) ranging from Baroness Helena Morrissey to Susannah Constantine, Christina Lamb OBE to divorce-lawyer supreme Helen Ward. The idea behind the site is to have an online magazine, focussing on inspirational stories about women who have transformed themselves in midlife, but also a bank of experts giving emotional masterclasses through videos and online groups to help women through the pinch points. We are also running retreats. Research shows that unhappiness peaks at 47; that in midlife we are buffeted by the outrageous misfortunes of divorce, bereavement, redundancy, ill health, elderly parents, troublesome teens – or just that creeping sense that we’ve only got 20 or so good years left and we want to make them count.
Noon is all about helping women find their next act, their new chapter – revisiting the dreams they had before earning a living, or raising a family knocked them off course. I am fortunate to have a journalistic dream team at Noon; Tiffanie Darke (former Editor of Sunday Times Style and Editor in Chief A&E networks in the USA) Sam Taylor (former editor The Lady and Daily Mail Femail) Jennifer Howze (Founder BritMums) and many more. The launch site features articles from Cosmo Landesman, Rosie Millard and Sarah Baxter. It has been exciting to reimagine what a media company starting in 2021 can be; without all the legacy issues which bedevil many existing groups. Newspapers are a bundle – social media and the online world are all about the niche. I’m betting there’s one for Noon. Come and see what you think.
Eleanor Mills, Founder and Editor in Chief Noon.org.uk
Above: Eleanor speaks on the launch of Noon.org.uk