The September 2007 issue of Psychologies magazine includes a feature guaranteed to increase my stress levels. Under the dubious headline “Are Women Better at Being in Charge?“, various bosses, Chief Executives and leaders, both male and female, give their opinion. Not suprisingly given the sheer ridiculousness of asking the question in the first place[*], the opinions given by some are infuriating.
Slyvia Ann Hewlett, economic and author, says:
Men and women are motivated by different things. For men, its primarily money and power; for women, it’s working with high-quality colleagues, doing work that has purpose, giving back to the community, receiving recognition… since women are not driven by their pay package and title, they’re less likely to create those ‘moments’ in their career that lead to leadership. Women may be stronger leaders, but there are never going to be equal numbers of men and women in charge, because, in general, men want it more.
Right. So that explains the pay gap and the fact we have hardly any women MPs; men just “want it more”. And seriously, she should maybe try to talk to some more men if she has such a low opinion of them and their priorities.
Darren Stone, an ‘independent financial advisor’, puts forward these enlightening opinions: men are better at dealing with rejection, women are more introspective, and in the all-male environment where he works now;
“We swear more and let off steam, but it’s therapeutic. Women who succeed in this environment are those who recognise that male behaviour for what it is and don’t take it as a personal offence.”
Because women never swear or let off steam, we are dainty and fragile!
Again, notice the generalisations about ‘male behaviour’ as some kind of unchanging thing, and that women who are offended by anything that a man does in the workplace is only ‘taking it personally’, because ‘boys will be boys’. Bleehhh.
The worst of the lot comes from Peter Jones, Chair of the Counselling in Prisons Network. It’s frankly gob-smacking.
Women have more power in society today, but society hasn’t become fairer or more inclusive. Women just wield power in a more covert way and men are the objectified sex – everywhere you look, on magazine covers and in advertising, you see male stereotypes. Society is more politically correct, but it protects everyone except men… Men are challenged on every front; we no longer feel needed as fathers, as workers, as hunters, if you like. We can’t say anything without fear of causing offence or being taken to court. And this is a result of women weilding more power. You only have to look at the next generation of teenage girls brought up on ‘girl power’ – they have the advantage over boys and they use it. When you’re not used to having power, you abuse it.
I think Peter Jones lives in a parallel universe. That’s the only explanation I can think of for such a deluded view of the world. Either that or he’s a completely insane. I mean, where would you even begin with this? Men are the objectified sex?! And why isn’t he giving up his day job to go ‘hunting’ if he thinks it’s so vital to his masculinity? Poor men! They can’t say ‘anything’ or they’ll be taken to court!
Thank goodness for Olivia Hart-Hughes, a money-management coach, who comes out with some common sense for a change.
Whether or not you want to take charge is more about how you were brought up then whether you are male or female… My father left home when I was young and I realised I had to take charge of my own life… Leadership skills are more to do with personality and background than gender.
[*] Just in case anyone was wondering, it’s ridiculous to suggest that one sex is “better” than the other at anything, as if all women in the world and all men in the world were exactly the same as each other. (I didn’t want anyone thinking that I thought it was ridiculous because the answer was obviously yes, women are better!)