Women view 'corporate game' with disdain

Sep 16 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Fat salaries, fast cars and "playing the corporate game" are of little or no interest to ambitious senior business women. What they look for are companies with "culture".

So says the Women Leaders Speak Out survey based on interviews with more than 650 women above director and senior management level.

The research, by diversity training company Eve-olution, found that women want a corporate environment that recognises that their strengths and skills are different from male colleagues but equally intrinsic to the organisation's success.

Rather than a brash, aggressive culture they are attracted to a "cultured" environment and companies that embrace men and women as equal but different in the boardroom, the survey suggests.

Such companies need to be highly sophisticated in their training and development of staff, positively reward effort and achievement and place a value on communication, team building and relationships, it added.

But many women polled said they feel firms often only pay lip service to equality and diversity - despite having high-profile employment policies in place - and they would rather leave than accept the status quo.

More than two thirds believed they had were not recognised or promoted on an equal basis to men, and eight out of 10 agreed that companies did not place a high enough value on skills such as communication, team building and relationships.

More than eight out of 10 also believed that not enough time and money was invested in training men and women to work more effectively together, while a similar proportion said that having a female role model was important for career success.

Tracey Carr, chief executive of Eve-olution, said: "Women want the debate to move away from family and childcare issues to the more challenging areas of stereotypes, perceptions and prejudices.

"It is vital that companies recognise and acknowledge gender differences and encourage open discussion around the issues," she added.

Clare Logie, director, women in business at Bank of Scotland, said organisations needed to "work to understand and appreciate the subtleties around challenges for today's female leaders".

And Jan Babiak, managing partner information systems assurance and advisory services at Ernst & Young, said the issue was not positive discrimination, as many men thought, but "creating a people and service proposition that delivers very real competitive advantage".

Older Comments

When, when, oh when will South African men stop asking woman to make them tea or coffee??? Especially thier P.A.'s who are already loaded with admin, organising, arranging etc. but still have to make them 20 cups of tea a day!

Martha South Africa

Actually, women have been facing the gender prejudices since times immemorial and there is a need to change the mindsets of the whole world. It can be possible throgh more education. The article is very praisworthy and relevant.

Anshu Kapoor

Martha, can you make me a cup of tea?