“That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.”
Every time I think women are getting their share of the workplace goodies I realise we’re still living in La La Land.
What’s caught me up short are comments by two women: actress Emma Stone and one of my networkers Senior Executive/Non-Executive Leadership Coach Fran Moscow. (Those are her words above.)
Living with men in business is easy – you listen, nod and probably applaud. Not all men of course. Many are now acknowledging the many facts in the public domain including for example, when a woman is on the Board, the company prospers as this report states “…companies with the highest representation of women board directors attained significantly higher financial performance, on average, than those with the lowest representation of women board directors…”
And yet some CEO’s lag behind with the Old Boys network still flourishing. One recruitment MD told me I was pushing at an open door. “Every client of mine wants to employ competent women,“ she gushed. “Only the other day a chief executive said to me, ‘if you can find a woman to mesh with my Board, do steer her my way’.” Patronising or what?
But even women at the top of their profession face a fight. Emma Stone, one of the leading female actresses in Hollywood. – and an Oscar shoo-in apparently for her role in the film ‘La La Land’ – has revealed (as Jennifer Lawrence and Robin Wright did) she has met her fair share of discrimination as a woman in the industry.
The Superbad star, 28, confessed in a recent Rolling Stone interview that she made directors laugh in the past with her improvised scenes on set – only to find her witty comments were later given to male co-stars to perform. And she said many directors have actually praised her input – but not let her take the credit for it! Sound familiar?
I will never forget the questionnaire which asked men what proportion of the meeting the females had spoken. The men asserted it was 75%. In reality it was 25%.
So what’s to be done? There are many campaigners out there trying to change the working environment like the 50-50 crusade for equal representation in Parliament, the 30% Club and the Women’s Equality Party to name only three. The Government is on our side too but progress is far too slow.
If you are a female executive in a man’s world, working in a culture of ‘Group Think’ and ‘The Band of Brothers’ it can be difficult making your voice heard without being considered assertive or argumentative. If this is YOUR problem I suggest you consider sessions with an executive coach – like Fran Moscow – who will identify the issues that hold you back and what changes in thinking, behaviour, belief and courage you need to make to fulfil your potential.
If this is a race, a few women executives have made a good start but we need to be on par with our male colleagues at the finish of the race so that more companies – and more countries – benefit from the different talents that women bring to the table.