Sunday, August 23, 2009

Women on top

There are several articles in the Observer today about a new report out which says what we all knew anyway. There are not many women on the boards of big companies.

Its not really surprising. These companies were mostly set up and developed during a time when women either did not work at all, or it was accepted that they did not work in senior positions. They were made by men, for men to work in, and not surprisingly their ethos is not female friendly, however enlightened individual men in the company may be. It is very difficult to change the ethos and culture of any large organisation, and even if those in charge are open to change, it will take a long time.

Personally I would hate to work in a large male dominated company. You read awful stories about women only getting on because they were willing to work harder than everyone else, put up with the sexist jokes, and go along with the lap dancing club culture. Not all companies are like this, but I am sure that many are, at least in part. Why should we have to put up with it? I don't want to, and I am sure that many, many women feel the same. They will do what I did - vote with their feet, and set up their own firms (although I should say here that the firms I have worked for in the past were on the whole pretty decent). Then they have control over their lives, and are able to spend more time with their families. If companies start out with a different way of working, this is much easier than changing one steeped in the male ethos.

Hopefully, in time, companies developed by women to suit themselves will become more significant in the economy, and things will start to change overall. Although I suspect that many women (again such as myself) when setting up their own firms, prefer them to be smaller and more flexible, and are not really interested in building large empires.

In particular, I would really like to see some women setting up and running new banks ...

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