A WOMAN IN A MAN’S WORLD8th November 2018
As a woman in business for over 30 years, I have been privileged to meet a variety of strong and talented women in powerful, highly-respected roles. On the surface, they wave the flag for females, proving that it isn’t just men that can ‘get the job done’, however beneath what connects all these women I believe is their lack of confidence.
Take Theresa May for instance, she holds the country’s most powerful role yet she is continuously bullied, undermined and patronised by her male colleagues. I feel like saying ‘get a grip of yourself Mrs May exude a bit of confidence! If it wasn’t for May’s firmly-held beliefs and her utter determination not to let anyone down, then we probably would have seen her follow in David Cameron’s footsteps a long time ago… out the door!
In #DominicLawson’s recent column on the Mail Online, he touches on May’s isolation from exclusive male groups who dine and joke together and discusses her loathing of “clubbish men”. This behaviour whether it’s in government, a staffroom, hospital theatre or boardroom would undeniably drive any woman potty. While group forming joins people together it also excludes others, which is why it is surprising to hear May initiated the network @Women2Win - designed to get many more women selected as Tory MPs. Surely this group executes the same principles as those that leave her behind while her male colleagues come together?
A few years back, I chaired an organisation called @Women In Property. I was the first chairman (yes, you heard correctly, chairman) that allowed male guests at events. By doing this, membership increased and with that so did its profile, not to mention PR. This did not ‘dilute’ the organisation’s agenda nor did it make it any less successful. Instead, it consolidated the group’s objectives and, thanks to the overwhelming support, allowed us to create opportunities and inspire change for women that we never thought would be possible.
It’s true what Dominic Lawson says, old institutions do not do themselves any favours - a hinderance more than an honour you could say. Whether it’s in business or politics, we’re all driving towards the same goals, so why isolate members that could help accelerate its success?