I wouldn’t consider myself a blazing feminist. I like to think of myself an ‘equalist’ – I think that everyone – white, black, asian, indian, women, men, etc all deserve a fair chance in business (and of course everywhere else, I just happen to be researching business). However, the topic of women in business is one that I, of course, am drawn to for personal reasons, being a woman and all.
Just a few articles that annoyed me this week, and got me thinking about women in business and some of the challenges they (we) face.
Link: Workers Prefer male Managers. “Incredibly, both men and women are in total agreement that men make better bosses – 63 per cent of women and 75 per cent of men.” Some of the reasons are that “men prefer the male alpha” to follow – so they have a role model of who to copy in terms of how to dress, and what to eat? That’s kinda sad, but cute. I picture all these men wearing the same colour shirt and buttering up some PB sandwiches together for lunch. And “two-thirds of women preferred a male boss because they were perceived as more straight-talking”. Interesting, in my experience, I do feel that male bosses tend to be ‘simpler’ to deal with than female (are men less complex? he he). That being said, having had 2 female bosses in my career, and 2 male bosses – my experience has been completely split down the middle. I’ve had the nightmare male boss (a long, long story), I’ve had the nightmare female boss (another longer story). Unfortunately I think that we’re biased when we actually fill in surveys like this – and I do think that we’re (as in both men and women) potentially biased against women leaders in general. Yes, women leaders may have a different ‘style’ – one that the business world is just not used to after hundreds of years of men running the show.
Unfortunately, some research shows that even successful women tend to be more supportive of men than other women in the workplace. Frustrating and unbelievable, (some research shows) true. Broad and pretty damning statement, I know, but I’ll post the research in another blog post shortly.
Link: Attractive women overlooked for certain jobs. The second news articles that got my attention – pretty girls have trouble getting ‘masculine’ jobs. “Attractive women faced discrimination when they applied for jobs where appearance was not seen as important. These positions included job titles like manager of research and development, director of finance, mechanical engineer and construction supervisor.” What? Pretty girls shouldn’t be messing up those nails, or that hair – or god forbid getting dirt on that blemish-free porcelain white skin? So should we encourage women who are going for engineering jobs to rustle themselves up a bit before the interview? To make themselves look a bit daggy (my favourite aussie word)? It’s just ridiculous, but it’s a stereotype that has pervaded the business world. On the other hand, good looks give both men and women an edge in most other careers – in terms of promotions, selection, and advancement… so does it balance out? Naw. Still frustrating.
But to end on a positive and uplifting note:
Link: More women on boards in Australia! Ending on a good note, “three times as many women have joined the boards of Australia’s top listed companies in the first seven months of this year as those who were appointed in the whole of last year”. Hooray!