In my view last week was landmark, not in the way of big bang but in terms of a shift in position. The General Synod voted to allow women to become bishops, although it was not a foregone conclusion there appeared to be a quiet confidence that it was time.
Then there was the pre-election cabinet reshuffle which saw women promoted in favour of some crusty men. Now it is not men bad – women good, it is equality is the right for all. It is the obvious disregard for the intelligence of both men and women to smell a rate. I am in support of more women as representative of the general electorate, Call me cynical, I would like to bet that post-election conservative win or lose the number of women in leadership positions will fall back to a poor representation.I have a strong belief that the European quota implemented for a period of 10 years, would not only put an end to knee jerk decisions wheeling women in at convenience, that in my view only serves to hurt the progress of women.
I have no shadow of a doubt that these women are twice as good as any other man around the table, but perception is reality and Cameron has just laid a path for these women laid with shrapnel and hand grenades.
I have heard many women say they want to get in leadership position based on merit and not base on their gender; my thoughts have always been that women have merit possible not a merit worthy of being measured by men. Women generally leave education having attained high qualifications then men, however, men still climb the ladder faster and on higher salaries.
At St Pauls Institute Ceri Goddard asks “who is defining merit?” she said “when did men ever earn their position on merit?” As a non-religious spiritualist, I wanted to get up in St Pauls Cathedral and shout AMEN. Then Shami Chakrabarti, offered her thoughts on tokenism and said “I think I’m not so much a token as a beacon.” Can I hear another AMEN. Liz Bingham EY laid that the “Business case for diverse leadership is so compelling, you have to wonder why we’re still taking about it.” No AMEN here. Liz said “We need to set target, targets with teeth! Less than 6% of FTSE 100 Company Executives are women & only 1 in 5 women in parliament.”
Ceri Goddard dispelled that “the myth is not that women don’t want to be leaders, but that there is only one type of leader.” For women to find their own path as leader they need to be more women in positions of leadership. Frances O’Grady said “Many changes that benefit women will benefit men, and businesses, too…where women rise, we all rise.” AMEN. So the only thing I want to know is ‘Why are we still talking about it?’It is time for change!
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Janice B Gordon: The Problem Solver Business Growth Consultant, Mentor, Speaker and Author. Business Evolution – Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing World will give you the guidance you need to evolve you and your business and exceed your customers wants and needs.