Why Aren’t More Women Managers?

I left school at 16 and got my first job as an office junior working at a small promotional products supplier company called Product Source. My boss and all the other senior management team were male (I say “were”, not because they are no longer male but because I was referring to the historical team – thought I should clarify that point before we start any rumours).

The promotional product industry like all other industries was predominantly male led. This was back in 1991. For those of you that are good at maths, yes that means I have a big birthday this year!

Life back then was very different… Silence of the Lambs was the top film; Arnie was true to his words “I’ll be back” with Terminator 2; Robert Maxwell went overboard, literally; George Michael and Elton John didn’t let the sun go down on them; Michael Jackson was Black or White and a Hansard Commission in 1990 found that only 6.7% of senior managers were women.

Remember this?

Super Nintendo

Incidentally, and I feel really old now, when I started work in 1991, we didn’t even have PCs.  Remember this? A 3.5″ floppy was not what it is now…

dumbterminal

Fast forward 24 years and perhaps there hasn’t been as much change as we thought… Arnie will be back again in June with Terminator: Genisys, and globally there are still only 24% of women that hold senior management positions.

graph

I have been very fortunate; my boss saw potential in me and funded a night school education. After 9 long years of working full time and attending Manchester University in the evenings, I was awarded a Business Degree and then followed it with an MBA. I graduated from my Degree two days before I gave birth to my first child and I had my second child 17 months later, mid MBA.

After much dedication and hard work I am now part of the 24% of female senior managers’ statistic. I am testament, as are hundreds of thousands of others, to the fact that women can have both a career and a family.

Globally, girls are now outperforming boys at every academic level and in virtually every subject, independent of social equality indicators (Geary & Stoet, 2015). Yet, in both the UK and the US, studies have shown that women are only earning about three quarters of what men in comparable jobs are earning, and only one quarter of all FTSE 100 board positions are filled by women.

Did you know that boards with a healthy female representation outperform their male-dominated rivals? (Abersoch, 2015).

Ladies, you are amazing and we need more of you!

Here are some tips to help you reach the top.

Self Belief – If you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities then how will anyone else?

Assertiveness – Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Women are often concerned that they may hurt someone’s feelings. It’s business, not personal.

Learn – Try to continuously learn from everyone, new approaches, new practices, new skills… You will get things wrong; learn from them and move on.

Confidence – Be confident with what you do and who you are.

Be Passionate – Create an environment where everyone believes in what they are doing.

Respect – Respect is earned not given; you need to prove yourself. It’s also a two way thing; you will not earn any respect if you don’t give any.

Hard Work – Even if you fulfill all of the above, climbing the ladder is only possible with hard work and dedication.

If you are already a business leader, then hopefully you will see the potential in your team and invest in them; they are by far your most precious assets.

I am very proud that our business, Customer Focus, has just been accredited with Investors in People, proving that we are doing just that – investing in our people.

Our staff will be the future leaders, they need to be given every opportunity to shine!

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