It’s not the first time…

CityEye-sqWomen in the news – “It’s not the first time that a man is abandoned by a woman.”

Mysterious, unfathomable, unreasonable, how to understand the working of a woman’s mind?  When Helena Costa resigned on her first day as head coach of Clermont Foot 63  in France, The club’s president Claude Michy was reported as saying “What’s surprising is we did not have a rational explanation. They were futile reasons. There is nothing serious. She left with her secret.”

to succeed in a man’s world a woman needs to be twice as good

Helena Costa would have been football’s highest-profile female manager, new head coach. You may be forgiven for thinking we had time travelled back a few centuries, for these antediluvian views. A few days later , in her native tongue, where she felt she would get a hearing, Helena Costa gave a response.  They had “signed players without my knowledge and for a team I was supposed to lead and be responsible for, when there were other financially viable possibilities”.

It should be mentioned very early on that she has a masters degree in Sport Science, has shown success, as an international manger to both the Qatari and Iranian women football teams. She felt there was lack of respect, and decisions were taken without consulting her, yet, she would be expected to take responsibility for those decisions.  She felt she was there just to be the face of the team.

Karen Brady, MD of Birmingham football club at the age of 23, and vice chair of West Ham United says to succeed in a man’s world a woman needs to be twice as good, fortunately that is not difficult.

There is some suspicion that Claude Michy was looking for publicity when he appointed her. In that he was successful, because of all the column inches written on Helena Costa, only two actually report her response.  This perpetrates the myths in the media of women as erratic and unreasonable and irresponsible. Interestingly it seems, she had originally decided to keep quiet about her reasons for leaving, for the sake of the team, but when she read comments as the above, she needed to set the record straight.

On to an English woman, or is she? The appointment of Patrice Merrin as an NED was hailed as a mile stone, the last Footsie company without a woman on board had closed the gap. The business secretary Vince Cable was delighted that Glencore had finally appointed a woman,  after all his encouragement. You may note that like Inge Beale at Lloyds, Patrice is in fact foreign educated.

Put yourself forward, build your confidence and demand promotion. You’re worth it.

Are there not enough capable women here, or don’t they believe in them selves?

These may seem like small inconsequential items of news, but they add up to a general perception which, repeated often enough even women themselves begin to believe. It sets a climate.

Sometimes the statements reflect more on the speaker than the woman executive. When Cynthia Caroll left Anglo American, some press items picked up on the statement by her deputy:

It it is difficult to find good female chief executives “because most women are sexually frustrated”. “Men are not, because they can fall back on call girls. If you have a CEO who is sexually frustrated, she can’t act properly.”   

All businesses need diversity, a greater balance not just of women, but black and ethnic groups, etc, and the surveys and research show that the greater the gender diversity, the more successful the business. Based on the views of 849 directors who serve on 105 boards for GenderWorx.

A recent report by Credit Suisse found that companies with at least some female board representation outperformed those with no women on the board in terms of share price performance. Fortune 500 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, according to Catalyst’s most recent report, The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards.

It is interesting to reflect at how the position of the International Monetary Fund became vacant, and that a woman was considered suitable.  In terms of the pressure the Establishment is currently under, might this be the time for a female government?

Women need to step up, to ask, demand their rightful place in the organization. Both Christine Lagarde, now MD of the International Monetary Fund and Fiona Woolf, currently Lord Mayor of the City of London, both highly competent experienced business women, had to ask for their partnership, it was not going to be offered to them.

As Nicola Horlick says, Put yourself forward, build your confidence and demand promotion. You’re worth it. A slogan better applied in the business world, than beauty advertising.


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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