Fehlt Ihnen im Englischen häufiger das treffende Wort? Kommen Sie trotz guter Vorsätze nicht dazu, ein Magazin oder Buch im Original zu lesen? Dann finden Sie hier interessante und vielfältige Lektüre aus der Financial Times - mit einem Glossar, das Ihnen auf die Sprünge hilft.
Recently I received an e-card from a perfect stranger. It was a picture of an orchid with the message underneath: "I hope you have a happy International Women's Day!"
As it happened, I did have a pretty happy day, but it seems I was bucking a trend. For most western professional women, March 8 was yet another god-awful day in what has been a never-ending succession of god-awful days, months and years.
I know this because I have been slogging my way through the latest batch of surveys about women managers. Every single one testifies to what a rotten time women are having and shows that, despite all the tub-thumping, nothing much is changing. So there is still a pay gap, with women managers paid less than men. Women are still gloomier about their prospects at work than men are. And they still aren't making it into the "C-suite" - or into executive jobs, as I wish they were still called.
There was even a survey stating that women are their own worst enemies, giving as evidence the fact that more women admire Sir Richard Branson (a global entrepreneur worth Dollar4.2bn) than Karren Brady (a minor UK businesswoman who is on a television game show). To sum up the negative mood, the novelist Kathy Lette wrote a column saying the trouble with being a woman was that you banged your head on the glass ceiling while doing the Hoovering at the some time.
For me, as I said, International Women's Day was a reasonably jolly day in which I avoided both the Hoover and banging my head on anything at all. The only dark spot was when I learnt that a senior female colleague had been talking about me in a way I wasn't terribly keen on. I spent 15 minutes drafting an email to her of the sort that we women are so brilliant at - apparently pleasant but deeply nasty underneath - but then, recalling that only the week before I had written an article in praise of gossip, I took a deep breath and hit delete.
Otherwise, being a woman was delightful. I went to my civilised office and did my interesting job and got asked to give a speech that I would never have been invited to give if I were a man. I received an invitation to a women's breakfast and private view of the Lucian Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Later, at home, the chores were minimal as the shopping had been delivered and all I had to do was boil some pasta and tip some sauce on it. The result was a bit soggy, but the family ate it without complaint.
It is simply not true that nothing changes. A few years ago, supermarkets didn't make fresh pasta sauce and didn't deliver it. Everything I see at work (apart from surveys) tells me that there are more women doing better and having a better time.
To prove it, I looked up a series of articles I commissioned for these pages 20 years ago. The first thing that struck me was the logo - a traffic sign with the picture of a woman in a skirt with the message underneath: "Women at work".
The image was twee, patronising and had the most unfortunate implication that working women were a hazard to other road users. The fact that I could have approved such a thing shows what a different world it was back then.
So do the articles. There was a long feature about a woman who worked from home one day a week, a development deemed quite extraordinary. Another was an admiring piece about nascent women's networks that offered "cut-price courses on assertiveness... wine tasting or test-driving a Porsche".
But the most startling difference was the reason why women dropped out - not because of children but because of prejudice and isolation. As one female stockbroker put it: "It's a mistake to draw attention to the fact that you're a woman."
The only thing that is familiar in these long-ago articles is the doom-laden tone - and the insistence that nothing is changing. Yet back then most employers couldn't even see what the problem was, while this year there was hardly a company that didn't put out a press release pronouncing its dedication to promoting women.
Even though most of this is PR, it at least suggests that the battle to change attitudes has been won. Change has happened, and I daresay it will go on happening. There is no further need for bellyaching. Better causes can be found to fight.
If I think about my own privileged children, and about how they will make their way in the world, there are two of them I am not worried about: the girls.