Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Woman in a Corporate World!

Why are there so few women in top corporate jobs? And those who are, are they seen to be representative of intelligent well-educated women fully able to manage and be decision makers, or do they quickly become a slightly softened version of the tough and over-riding personality of big-time male corporate heads? I am not being biased, I'm simply asking a question. Because from where I stand, those women who have taken up top jobs seem to lose a lot of their femininity - and I'm not talking about the way they dress - and become something else.

Occasionally it's good to look at this question from another angle. Read and enjoy and if you feel like laughing out loud, then do so, it will do you the world of good!

"Why Woman are not appointed to Company Boards"

1. There are no suitable women. We've looked and can't find any
2. This is a highly specialised field
3. Women are specialists. We need generalists
4. We already have one woman on the board
5. If gender becomes the prime selection criterion, we'll dilute the value of the other criteria and will get inferior directors
6. It's insulting to appoint a woman to the board because of her gender
7. We had a woman once but she was hopeless so we can't risk another one
8. It's bad for women to appoint inadequate women as directors
9. We don't believe in quotas
10. Women mostly get appointed through patronage or seduction
11. A woman would be disastrous on this board
12. Being from Queensland (or other constituency) is more important than being female
13. It's not fair to aspiring male directors to have women push in ahead of them
14. Who'll look after the interests of men if the board is dominated by women?
15. Women talk too much, go off on tangents, are emotional, moody etc
16. Women are distracted by family interests and you can't be sure of their priorities
17. You can't have more than one woman on a board because they fight
18. The other directors are not used to working with high-powered women. 75 per cent of them have stay-at-home wives and all the other women in their lives have been in subservient roles
19. Women executives in the company (Queen Bees) don't like having other women on the board
20. The other directors' wives are threatened by women board members working closely with their high-powered husbands (partners)
21. It is uncomfortable taking women on board retreats
22. Women don't play golf.

So now you've had a good laugh, OK? But I'd like you to stand back and re-read many of these points, because whether you believe it or not, the comments mentioned have been used for decades, and continue to be, in determining that women are not satisfactory material for sitting on corporate boards. In fact many of these comments have been used against employing women in middle to top management of companies, let alone becoming a member of a board.

And again I'm not being biased, but I've noticed something insidious within corporations. When a woman becomes the spokesperson for that company, be she the CEO or board member, it is she who has to bear the brunt of anger should that company be forced to admit losses in profits, or even worse, to under go liquidation with massive losses of employees jobs. It's almost as though the rest of the entire board become invisible and innocent.

Corporate decisions are not made by one person but it's sometimes easier to blame a woman, (if there is one on the board or in top management). Perhaps I AM biased? But I don't think so. I've seen too much of how corporations work. 

.....© Leonie Stevens, Australia


  1. Hi Leonie, I've just found your blog - love it. You left out another 'quote' as to why women aren't in high corporate positions - one I was told - no women have applied!! It was at an interview I had many years ago and I wasn't applying for a high position - just office manager! Guess what - I didn't get the position it went to a male applicant - it was afterall a male dominated office - legal firm, even the receptionist was a male junior legal student!!!!

  2. Hi Joy. Great meeting you. Hadn't thought of that "quote" - but it sure makes sense! Still can't quite work out why women who are in management roles particularly aren't yet on equal pay, even though it was brought in around 1968. Governments have their heads in the sand and this definitely is a form of discrimination!