The Treasury Committee has published its women in finance report calling for reform. You can see the recommendations here.
One of the outcomes of the report highlights a need to change 'alpha-male culture' – a culture which often defends fulltime working hours, presenteeism, lack of flexibility and unconscious bias – particularly towards women returning from a period of leave.
It was the culture piece that struck a chord; we know we need to do more to help women attain positions of seniority and the good news is that more women are reaching the top than ever before. But what happens once they get there? It’s all well and good scrapping your way there, or indeed gracefully traversing, only to realise that once you’ve made it your battle has merely just begun. It is here too that a cultural shift needs to happen; at the top, once you’ve reached your destination, not just whilst you’re still en route.
Women can bring empathy, emotional intelligence, the ability to listen and a different perspective. When engulfed by an alpha-male culture, these important qualities can often be drowned, or worse, misunderstood and under-valued. It is those subtle differences between men and women that form the very basis of diversity and help steer us away from groupthink.
We must find ways to support and encourage the women around us, especially those that have found their way to the top. Don’t make them believe they need to behave like men, instead value their emotional intelligence, champion their empathy and benefit from the diversity of thought. The work being done to help women smash the glass ceiling is wonderful, but we mustn’t fly women by private jet only to abandon them upon arrival.
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