Initiative to promote women at the top.

Interesting interview in the Guardian with an inspiring and succesful business woman (9 (!) kids) who rejects strict quota’s (unless as a last resort), but is promoting other ways of increasing the amount of woman at the top. This after a comment of her 5-year old son got her thinking — itself an argument for family-work balance: talking to kids can lead to good ideas!

I am certainly delighted to see a women-related issue in the business rather than the Life&Style pages!!!

What do we think?

I really liked this:

“I don’t buy the talent issue. How can it be that intellectually, through A-levels, degrees and their early careers, women are even-stevens with men, and then they suddenly melt down at 30?”

and this:

“Nobody has all the answers, however brilliant their background, and an all-male board, which has been at school and university together, however good they are individually, will clearly have its limitations.”

But a friend of mine was not to happy about the comment right at the end:

“Men and women can bring different qualities to the table – as well as a host of similar ones. “Women are typically more conscientious, less concerned with status, more concerned about consensus building and, because they make so many of the consumer decisions, have a good understanding of the market.

“Men tend to be more focused and goal-orientated, which is very good for career development and very important when running a business. Men are more likely to make a decision and go through with it and that’s very important – consensus-building isn’t always right.” ”

My friend worries that without explaining how these differences arise (presumably through different life-experiences/training), this can suggest some kind of biological deterministic view that ultimately undermines one’s cause. I agree, but think this is is a double-bind that is difficult to avoid if one tries to make a case for the direct benefits of diversity to a company.




One thought on “Initiative to promote women at the top.

  1. It seems completely right to ask how we can say there are benefits to diversity without maintaining that diversity brings in differences.

    Can we say that there are general differences in such things as experience and need, and resist generalizing these to differences in character and ways of reasoning and relating? Statements about what men tend to do, even if correct, may not hold of most of the men in some one group, for example.

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