STOP being so NICE – it’s costing you a fortune. The nicer a woman is in work, the less she’s likely to be paid. Good manners may cost nothing, but be too polite and it can cost you a lot. Well, thanks for that… If we want a decent pay packet women should be less compliant and more demanding and assertive.

Think Meryl Streep as that terrifying fashion mag editor in The Devil Wears Prada and you’ll get the picture. The haughty expression and five-inch heels are possibly optional but probably useful, if not downright scary.

According to a study in The Netherlands, many professional women are still afraid to behave in an “unfeminine” way. ie, we don’t want to be thought bossy. Why not? Bossy is actually a good thing to be. When everyone else is faffing around like headless chickens, you need a bossy someone to take charge and make a decision. If it’s a man it’s leadership. If it’s a woman it’s bossiness.

What’s surprising is that this study is still saying this now. In the past 40 years or so, we’ve produced a generation of capable and confident young women who do better at school than boys, who are more likely to go to university – yet are still apparently nervous of speaking their mind.

Maybe we all saw what happened to Margaret Thatcher when she was assertive – turned into a national hate figure so people laughed when she died. Would they have done that to man?

Or maybe it’s a feminine instinct born of millions of years of keeping families happy. At home, we’re more likely to want peace at any price, to appease stroppy teenagers, comfort distressed toddlers and calm down angry fathers. No wonder those instincts spill over into the workplace.

And often they’re really useful. Women, well, most women, are better at getting the best out of their colleagues, of avoiding confrontation and encouraging the tentative. We often make work a much nicer place. And then some chap comes along, makes his voice heard and gets a pay rise.

The worst thing, said the academic in charge of the research, was women aren’t even aware they’re being handicapped for being nice. What’s more, many of them were so nice they even thought they were earning more than they deserved.

And I bet there’s not a man in the world who’s ever thought that.

ADELE has told fans she’s going to have another baby. A brave move, as after suffering dreadful post natal depression after the birth of son Angelo, she swore she’d never have another.

Like so much of the pain involved in childbirth, depressions is something you can manage to forget. Or remember and know it’s worth it.

congratulations to Nasa astronaut Peggy Whitson, at 56, the oldest woman in space. This week she took off for the International Space Station on her third space mission. By the end of it, she will have spent more time in space than any other American.

As women of a certain age are taking charge all over the world, except, oops, in America, it’s good to see that their influence isn’t limited just to this planet.

THE Co-op in Richmond is due to close soon but is already a ghost shop with mainly empty shelves and just a few items huddled into about a quarter of the store. So dispirited, that no-one’s even bothered to put the clock back.

It will re-open in a few months as a Lidl. But there already is a Lidl just down the road at Catterick Garrison. What Richmond needs is a Sainsbury, Booths or Waitrose – a store that would make people come especially to the town.

Yet another missed opportunity.

KINDER eggs – those little chocolate eggs with a fiddly little toy in them- are banned in the USA, in case small children choke. Fair enough, I suppose.

But parents are more likely to choke on the news that many Romanian children, as young as six years old, are working to assemble the tiny toys for as little as 22p an hour. A Romanian family of five were apparently played the equivalent of £3.80 for every thousand eggs they delivered.

My granddaughters love Kinder eggs, especially the Frozen versions. In true granny fashion, I have a secret stash in the kitchen cupboard and I’ve lost count of the tiny Elsas and Annas they’ve collected.

But no more. What’s the point of making our own kids happy by exploiting others?

However, although you can’t give a child in the USA a Kinder egg, you can give them a gun. Presumably because it’s got no parts small enough to choke on. So that’s all right then.

FORMER shadow chancellor Ed Balls is in danger of turning into a national treasure after his sporting appearances on Strictly The current chancellor, Philip Hammond was apparently a Goth in his youth. As he made his sonorous autumn statement on Wednesday, I tried to imagine in him ten years down the line high-kicking, twirling and stepping out in style on Strictly 2026.

Tricky, isn’t it?

TODAY is Black Friday – a sales gimmick imported from America where they start their serious Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving, which was yesterday.

But we don’t have Thanksgiving. Which makes Black Friday a nonsense. Which could explain why it’s been going on for a week and lasts another week or more. It’s just the January sales. Only early. Or very late.

Or simply a money-making gimmick.