Behind every great woman

Man and woman discussing businessIs a supportive man. Two of the top successful women, leaders in their field, featured in the news this week.   Great role models.

Dinah Rose QC, the tiger at the bar, just won the case for publishing Prince Charles letters. Read Owen Bowcott’s article here.

Dinah Rose has paid tribute to her husband, Peter Kessler, a TV producer for bringing up their two young daughters. She has said: “Marrying a male barrister is a disaster. They’ll always think that their cases are more important than yours and they’ll earn too much money and persuade you to give it up or go part-time. He just lifted a huge burden of anxiety from me and really liberated me to focus on my career, and that’s an enormous gift to give someone.”

Suddenly there’s an explosion of women appearing in the media. It seems to be the continuation of International Women’s Day, which this year seemed to extend over a week, Even Davos the World Economic Forum, had a gender seminar. Its relevance being because added financial value seems to carry more weight than any arguments for equality.

A recent report on women on boards. A detailed report on top 100 FTSE Companies shows that they are up to 23%, a little short of Lord Davies request for 25%, and Helena Morrissey’s aim of 30%. Yet do the figures match reality, when women are over 50% of the population.

Cityam presents the case for quotas for both sides.   We’ve a way to go. The city is beginning to see the importance of greater diversity. Although the article praising LLoyds achievement in this area, notably didn’t mention that Lloyds CEO, is the redoubtable Inga Beale, not only a woman, but brought up in another country.   One of the few executive women.

Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment, and chair, founded the 30% club, to increase the number of women on FTSE boards.   She decided to make a purely business case for diversity, arguing that “it’s not a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue”.

She says that liberating women from stereotyped assumptions about their behaviour benefits the workforce as a whole. When she had her fourth child, her husband gave up work.

Her husband Richard is a Buddhist priest, who finds bringing up the 9 children, gives him a greater choice of careers, as he is able to go freelance. Helen Lewis profiled her in the Guardian.   The logical extension of all of this is that men have more choice.   She doesn’t see the need for power suits , appearing in a skirt and heels. she embodies difference.

But before you break out the Prosecco, celebrations by MPs and others may mention the increase in %, but omit that most of these are non executive directors.   These apparent successes could seems illusory if, as in the past, when the euphoria has died down, things slip back, as has mostly been the case for women’s’ equality over the years.   Dagenham protests in 1968 were about equal pay, and though some changes were made, we’re still waiting to see equal pay across the board, at all levels, especially in the lower paid.

More female executive directors may just be able to put a focus on that.


About the author

City Eye became interested in Overlooked and Overshadowed women, both in contemporary times and through out history. The former would include the women passed over for the Nobel in favour of their male colleagues. The later would be the wives of famous men, such as Mrs. Mandela. Her study of women written out of history, led her to interviews with interesting and inspirational women, (and some men). Extracts will be published in the articles. In no way is this men versus women, as to who is better. Simply that an overly macho, military, testosterone fueled environment, mainly men, needs the balancing attributes, often, though not exclusively, assigned to women: caring, conciliation, communication. Find out more: City Eye Blog ©christina

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