I came across a card in a shop recently featuring a ‘Punch’ cartoon and it made me chuckle. It depicted a typical boardroom scene with a handful of middle-aged executives deep in discussion. One of the executives is a woman. The line reads “That’s an excellent suggestion Mrs Triggs, perhaps one of the men would like to make it.”
This cartoon, I later discovered, dates back to 1988. And yet it still rings so true.
Currently, only 21% of the world’s senior management positions are held by women. And you might think that this global figure is not representative of leading and enlightened economic powers like the UK or US. Wrong. The figure is 20% for the UK and a derisory 17% in the US. In fact, it might surprise you to learn that it is Russia that leads the way globally in this statistic – with 46% of senior positions being filled by women. Who’d have thought?
What is it that is holding women back? Why don’t women rise to the top nearly as frequently as men? Could it be as simple as the card suggests? Are women’s views still not valued in the boardroom?
Freddie blogged last week and spoke about the ‘Women transforming leadership’ programme at Said business school in Oxford. The basis of the programme and the fundamental truth behind this issue is this: More women at the top of big business would be good for big business. Women possess different skills, are able to empathise better and would undoubtedly bring a much needed measure of balance to the top tables of the world’s big companies.
It’s about time we started listening to Mrs Trigg.