The business culture of late night dinners, sporting events and boozy networking are hindering women from reaching the top of the corporate ladder, according to the Director General of the Confederation of British Industry.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Carolyn Fairbairn called for an end to the stereotypical business culture that ostracises or makes difficult for women – particularly mothers – to get ahead in their roles.
For many, working events often take place late into the evening, or during a time when women want to be with their families. There is then a difficult choice between bonding with colleagues or going home to care for children.
Fairbairn said, “I have noticed in my career that quite a lot of things are set up around business life, that happen outside work, don’t include women that easily. One example that is quite obvious is the business dinner.”
“A lot of women – and I was one of them, because I was bringing up three kids – just want to go home. And we wonder why business dinners are 95% men.”
She continued, “Here at the CBI I have said: ‘Let’s have a look at other ways of doing things – can we have a nice glass of wine and a nice presentation and then we all go home?’ A lot of men would just like to go home as well.”
Fairbairn, who was recently appointed to her role, is the first female Director General for the CBI. She replaced her predecessor, John Cridland earlier this month, having previously held roles as a non-executive director for Lloyds Banking Group and Capita.
Fairbairn’s comments come as the government continues to increase pressure on big organisations to employ more women within their boardrooms; and as Lord Davies’ final report calls for an increased 35% target.