The men who headed up Lehman’s, and Lloyds, were probably good at their job. It depends on your criteria. If it’s about making money for their shareholders and themselves, they were highly successful. Interestingly many companies with a strong ethical base are proving competitively successful. On the other hand, many of the best most experienced and expert women chose a career in public service rather than in the financial sector.
Here are these dangerous myths.
“There aren’t enough talented women.”
“Quotas do women a disservice.”
“Women can’t have it all.”
Each of these myths needs unpacking because they are subtle brain washing. Reverse the saying. Only men have the experience and expertise for boards and the city? Then where does that leave the Co-op, Lehman brothers and the recent head of the International Monetary Fund? (See lecture Tuesday 4th Feb.) So why are we head hunting women from America?
Some shining examples of expert and experienced women often managing more than one job or career, are my Women in Crime .
Dame Anne Owers, former Chief Inspector of prisons, and Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions. Best of all a recent interviewee, Sian West. Who not only governed 3 prisons highly successfully, but has since gone on to Restorative Justice and is currently a volunteer of Domestic Violence, amongst many other things. Ethics rather than finance motivates them.
“Quotas do women a disservice. Men already have quotas, they are automtically appointed.”
It’s about keeping traditional values, the dead hand of the white, male, stale establishment. It not only holds back women, but is beginning to severely restrict the financial development, the success of this country.
Look no further for traditional values, than the current dispute over sexism, and the acceptance of wandering hands. It was just this very behaviour which elevated Christine Largarde to International Finance Minister, after the downfall of the previous incumbent. She has said “There may have been less of a meltdown financially, if it were Lehman sisters.”
Not all women, not all men, fit these categories. But interestingly there appears to be a male culture and a female culture both of which have certain expectations, which are seen as the default for many people, who’ve not given it much thought.
The last most invidious urban myth, prevalent at this momnet. “You can’t have it all.” Why not? Men do?
Nicola Horlick, successful business woman, fund manager and mother of 7 children, has. My recent inspirational women do have it all. And many successful women across the globe, as the recently re-elected president of Chile.
Professor Maggie Aderin-Pocock is about to take her rightful place as presenter of The Sky at Night, BBC 4, Feb 9th, 10pm.
Maggie sees herself primarily as a scientist, but her role as communicator and educator follows hard upon that. The number of school children, not just girls, not just black children inspired by her school visits will have a serious and much needed effect on the STEM future of this country.
Women on Boards.
Lord Davies said 25%, there is a group pushing for 30%, but Lloyds is looking for 40%, women in positions of power and influence.
The Equal Pay act was passed in 1968, but has yet to be fully implemented. The Equalities Bill was passed, but firms find ways to evade it, mostly through part time and contract workers, cleaners and secretaries, usually females first to go, in redundancies.
Women are more than 50% of the population. They are not a minority. Perhaps they are invisible.
So it’s time for women to be revolting. Starting with exploding the myths, at the school gate. Demand your position, at AGMs. Demand more women in politics, judiciary. Somewhere in your life, you too can make a difference. Start by exposing the urban myths.
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