THURSDAY THOUGHTS! - Are you an equal with your male peers?

Posted by | April 11, 2013 | Thursday Thoughts | 3 Comments

WomenomicsAfter a lovely Easter week off, it’s time to get back in the swing of things with our weekly look at a poignant self-development topic.  This week has proven easy to pick a topic, with the news full of the fact that the only woman Prime Minister the UK has ever had, has died.  Love her or hate her – and passions are high on both those axis – the fact remains that she made it to the top in what was, and still is, considered very much a man’s world. A product of her time, or have times changed in terms of female leadership?  Womenomics: say the Hot Chilli company, is very much alive and well.

Margaret Thatcher was one of the toughest leaders of her time – but a leader she definitely was. So today, are women held back by factors like unequal pay and workplace sexism? Or are we opting out because we don’t apply, think we aren’t qualified, fear rejection, or concern for our family?

That’s the debate we are having this week. The current picture shows that the few who manage to penetrate the higher corporate levels must still be as hard as nails, sometimes even outdoing our male peers when it comes to aggressiveness. Do we really have to be more masculine than a man to make it to the top of our respective trees?

When the message conveyed to women is that to succeed in our careers we must adopt characteristics perceived as male and marked by men as “good”, while shedding characteristics identified as female and perceived as “not good” – do we internalise the idea that our psychological structure is less suitable for leadership and management?  Feelings of inferiority can be very heavy weights to bear when climbing upward.

As long as this is the situation, the distance to true equality between men and women will still remain great.

Where do you see yourself in this debate?  Do you consciously suppress female strengths to succeed or do you make a feature of them in the workplace?  What results are you achieving by doing so?

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Sharon Davidson
Organisational development professional specialising in personal, team and whole organisation improvement. Full range of OD tools and techniques available including: Belbin team role analysis; learning style inventories; 360 degree feedback; cultural assessments; personality psychometrics; strategic planning and workshop facilitation. (This list is not exhaustive!)

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  • Alison Crawford says:

    I guess one question is are there equal numbers of men and women applying for more senior posts? I have worked with some very talented and inspirational female bosses, but suspect that they have given up more than their male counterparts to get there. I’m at an age where many of my female contemporaries are opting out of the workplace in favour of bringing up children. In many cases this is temporary, but even those that return to work have less passion for infiltrating the top levels in the workplace.

    In terms of female qualities, I think they are very positive at senior levels. Communication, multi-tasking and empathy are all very positive, but do need to be tempered with ambition and arrogance to get to the top spots. The women I know of my age who are excelling are those who compromise more, longer hours, more travelling, more responsibility than their grade. Perhaps the men in those roles are doing likewise, but I know from my own experience there are some things I won’t do for ‘success’, life is more than a job title to me.

  • Peggy Edwards says:

    Interesting thoughts, both myself and my sister are the bread winners in our families and she has three children. We both earn excellent wages and both worked hard to get where we are. Do I think I am held back because I am a woman, no. But do I think my female boss gets treated by her colleagues differently, then yes. I went to a senior board meeting the other day, my boss was the only woman around the table. We can’t have our cake and eat it, if a man had a year off work then he couldn’t expect to go as far as a colleague who has been there during that time.

  • Aresko says:

    So do you subscribe to presenteeism over merit Peggy?

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