Gransnet forums


Why women aren't getting to the top

(20 Posts)
Carigransnet (GNHQ) Thu 31-Jan-13 07:30:15

In the first of our guest blogs this week former advertising exec Jane Mass asks whether it's perhaps because they don't really want to. Read what she has to say - and let us know whether you agree!

Mey Thu 31-Jan-13 09:53:24

There are loads of Women doing very well in most Industries and if there is an Industry were by there arent many women its probably because we do not wish to go there. In this day and age there is NOTHING stopping women from progressing in any field they wish to do so. This is my humble opinion.

nightowl Thu 31-Jan-13 10:14:16

I think she is right inasmuch as it's still not possible for anyone - woman or man - to 'have it all' and choices have to be made. It was our generation of women that paved the way for equality in the workplace and much has been achieved. However, I think that what the feminists of the day did not take into account, perhaps could not afford to take into account given the basic rights women were fighting for, was the needs of children. I have certainly not achieved as much in my career as I was capable of, or as much as my OH in the same job. That was my choice once I had children. It seems as though many women are still making that choice. I would say to any woman, if you 'have the fire in your belly' (to quote the author) to be a CEO then go for it, but if you don't, don't feel as though you have failed. Is ambition and career really everything by which we measure a person's worth?

Nelliemoser Thu 31-Jan-13 10:18:21

Spot on Nightowl My sentiments exactly.

Ariadne Thu 31-Jan-13 10:40:33

Couldn't agree more, Nightowl, especially your last sentence. That was something DH had to learn when his career at one stage seemed to be slowing down! He's always remembered that, and how surprised he was to hear all the things for which he was valued. Just needed telling!

whenim64 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:25:27

I 'didn't really want to' go further once I stepped into a middle manager role. The egos sittng around boardroom tabes, vying for domination and using all sorts of tricks to cosy up to top management, put me off. I was delegated to take on senior management tasks in an attempt to get me to apply for the next rung of the ladder and I found the culture oppressive. It wasn't the glass ceiling, it was the thought of working in the higher management envionment. I agree with nightowl too - a person's worth is measured artifcially in the workplace. We're all expendable and it doesn't matter how ambitious or career-orientated we are, we need our value to be measured by more than the job.

Mey Thu 31-Jan-13 11:26:25

That was a really lovely post nightowl and made me feel better as a person.

I do have quite alot of ambitious people around me and although I understand and have some ambition myself, it is not everything to me, and you make a brilliant point in saying "is ambition how we should measure a persons worth", because you are correct in saying that we should not measure a persons worth in this way.

I was brought up to think you MUST be ambitious and if you were not then there was something rather wrong with you, so its was sooo nice to read your post and realise that its OK to mot be ambitious and think that other things are more important.

nightowl Thu 31-Jan-13 16:56:06

Thank you for all the very kind responses to my post, and I am glad to know that it struck a chord with you Mey. It is something I have been thinking about a lot recently as I reach the end of my career. I don't really have any regrets, but a few 'what ifs ?' I'm not sure I would want to be remembered as the best CEO there ever was, but rather as a good person who tried her best! Sorry, that's not really the point of the blog.

BoomerBabe Thu 31-Jan-13 17:36:00

I can't agree more with all your wise words. I think women often have different priorities. I know I never responded well to time constraints and rules and was happier, if poorer, at home. When oh when will child rearing be given the recognition it deserves? I've done many different things in my life but by far the most fulfilling was bringing up my three children. I only worked while they were in school which meant low pay. They say it was worth it and so do I. Sometimes, we just need to admit that we can't have it all and do it well, that's life, you makes your choice! Once they were older, I qualified as a teacher and had a good ten year career.

j07 Thu 31-Jan-13 18:04:04

She seems to be blaming women for not wanting to be CEO's. Why? Saying "we've still got a long way to go". If women don't want to do it, what is the point of this woman crticising them for it. Because that's what it sounds like she is doing. hmm

Just another career woman knocking other women.

I wonder what her family life is like. And how happy she will be in later life.

j07 Thu 31-Jan-13 18:11:11

this woman doesn't seem to think much of the book either

j07 Thu 31-Jan-13 18:22:04

scroll down to the box which starts"when Kate was born"

Would most women want that?

soop Thu 31-Jan-13 18:25:54

Do hope there is another Mad Men to look forward to. Like your post, BoomerBabesmile

j07 Thu 31-Jan-13 18:36:43

here you are soop

Nelliemoser Thu 31-Jan-13 19:37:03

I have just heard Lesley Garratt on the Radio talking about getting back into main stream Opera roles. The interviewer suggested that she had been criticised by some for giving up her "opera" career and doing "lesser stuff" concerts and musicals etc.

Her response was that she did this because she wanted to be with her children when they were small and that this would never have been possible with a full time operatic carreer. Good for her I say!

FlicketyB Thu 31-Jan-13 19:58:39

Jane Mass is asking the wrong question. What she should be asking is why female success has to b measured in male terms, ie who gets to the top of the corporate tree.

We will inevitably always have measures of success, but why should the choice of these measures be dictated by men? Most of the men who reach the top of the tree are ruthless efficient bullies, usually with unsuccessful marriages and dysfunctional families. Are Fred Goodwin and Bob Diamond and his cronies aspirational? If what they are is the ultimate measure of success, count me out.

In the last day or two I was listening to interviews with women attending a lunch to celebrate those women who have been instrumental over the last 40 or 50 years as campaigners for changes in social policy. It included the woman who drove the campaign for parents to be able to stay in hospital with their children. These women are as successful and as influential as Captains of Industry and their affect on society has been entirely beneficial, the reason their names are not known in every household is because the do not measure up to male definitions of success.

whenim64 Thu 31-Jan-13 20:56:42

Good points, Flickety

CaroleB Fri 01-Feb-13 09:05:28

I also agree that many women do not want to be numero uno. They are, however, very ambitious for their projects to succeed and be well organised, well executed and bring business success - not just financial but also in terms of creating growth and sustainable progress.
What women don't want is huge offices, unless they contain the whole team, subordinates to "boss" and stupid interminable "meetings" to discuss 'points of order' - full of egos and incompetents. This appears to be how men assess their competence, but it isn't what fulfils or stimulates a successful woman.
What women need is to be recognised for what they are - often highly organised, multi-tasking yet extremely focussed. They are very good at delegating what they consider to be simple tasks (sub-projects) only to find that the office "gossip" has described them as weak, neglectful or too busy working flexibly to manage the whole account alone. They don't do well in performance reviews because they don't score points against others - they are busy taking everyone with them as they head for combined success.
Men want to win the game; women want to build a set of people who can interact, who can develop their skills and who can forge ahead for years to come. Maybe if we stop using Public schoolboy Headboy criteria for measuring suitability we will get the boardrooms we deserve?

Ariadne Fri 01-Feb-13 09:07:00

Oh yes!!!

whenim64 Fri 01-Feb-13 09:23:02

Even more good points, Carole smile