Shirley Conran – a freedom fighter for women

Shirley Conran, a dynamo and trailblazer –  designer, journalist, novelist and campaigner to liberate women in the kitchen, bedroom and at school –  has died.

  Born 21 September 1932 3am Hendon, England with a wealthy, small businessman father who was also a violent alcoholic,  she studied painting at Cheslea, married designer Terence Conran in her twenties and had two children. After her divorce, she switched to journalism, becoming women’s editor at the Observer magazine, and then  “Femail” at the Daily Mail.

   Struck down a year later by the debilitating myalgic encephalopathy (ME) virus, she fell into debt but retrieved her situation by writing the bestseller Superwoman – “life is too short to stuff a mushroom” – which sought to liberate women from the tyranny of housework.

  Next on her schedule was a raunchy novel, Lace, which urged women to take control in the bedroom and everywhere else in their lives. Other bestsellers followed. Still not finished, in recent years she embarked on Maths Action, to promote maths as a suitable subject for the female sex. She had three husbands in all and three divorces but remained close to Terence throughout her life.

  She was born at that tough but inventive and inspired time when there was an enduring, gritty Saturn in Capricorn opposition Pluto (conjunct Mars in Leo) square Uranus in Aries. It would give her a temperament ideally suited to disrupting norms, pushing through social reforms and trailblazing new paths. Though her dislike of compromise and overly individualistic approach would not make for easy one-to-one partnerships and cooperation. She had a 2nd house Sun Mercury in Virgo, perfect for a money-earning career from communication; with a Gemini Moon in her 10th house of career, giving her a ‘nose’ for what would suit prevailing trends of public taste – and squaring Jupiter Neptune in Virgo would give her a dose of optimism and strong self-belief. Her scary, unstable father is well described in Saturn opposition Mars Pluto

 A Cardinal T square onto Uranus would give her a revved-up, hyper-restless temperament. An 8th house North Node would also early on give her an exceptionally needy streak, with financial tugs of war likely but as she got it on track, her business acumen brought her stability and security. Her emphasised Saturn in the 6th would give her a workaholic streak though also hinted at health issues and after her ME struck it forced her for the rest of her life to spend three months of each year in bed in a darkened room.  And still she accomplished more than most would in ten lifetimes.   

Her breakthrough 13H was strong as was her leaving-a-legacy-for-the-future 17H.

5 thoughts on “Shirley Conran – a freedom fighter for women

  1. Sad to read her obituary but what a phenomenal woman! Up there with Anita Roddick and Lynne Franks in the sisterhood…

  2. Here is her natal chart……multiple marriages/divorces, Uranus rules her 7th, in 9th H
    of marriage. Her name “Conran” conjuncts Jupiter-Neptune, ruler of 9th, novels.
    When she died, Solar Arc Saturn, ruler 6th health/illness conjuncted her MC;
    transit Grieve squared her natal MH; transit Uranus conjuncted trans Libitina, funeral;
    and trans Pluto in 6th squared her natal MH.

  3. Wow what a great life. I read Superwoman when I had two small preschoolers in the latish seventies. “life is too short to stuff a mushroom” kept me sane-ish for ever after. Thanks for describing her astrology Marjorie

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