Stereotypical claptrap

Jul 24 2007 by Charles Helliwell Print This Article

A piece of utterly predictable research by Catalyst, the US-based research and advisory group, suggests that because Women in Business still face the same old male prejudices they have faced for many years, it may be virtually impossible for them to be considered truly successful business icons.

Honestly, what a load of claptrap. To suggest that women in business who conform to gender stereotyping may too soft - or that those who don't might otherwise be considered 'ball breakers' - does a complete disservice to those thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of women, who as managers and senior executives, regularly put their male counterparts to shame.

The business community has become so conventionally stereotyped in its own way, that it seems to have forgotten that there is no such thing as a guaranteed formula for success.

True, there may be no obvious female equivalents to Jack Welch, Lee Iacocca or Bill Gates, but have any of these three business leaders, for example, been berated for expressing their feminine side too often, whilst in charge of their respective organisations ?

The concept of invention, manufacturing, commerce and trading still has its roots entrenched in male dominated prejudices; a history in which women were neither encouraged to collaborate or participate.

These roots go deep, as do the prejudices which accompany them. However, as much as we are drawn kicking and screaming into the new millennia, very little has changed, other than a grudging recognition that women now have a greater role to play in the workplace.

It is still the case that they have to work 50 per cent harder than many of their male counterparts to achieve the same levels of recognition, reward and appreciation; and they may forever, labour under that yoke of historical prejudices which still remains.

However, they are now becoming a group to be reckoned with in their own right and they no longer have to force their way through from the second line of the chorus to gain recognition and stardom. The new generation are the stars of a new breed of business; the catalysts for a different level of thinking about how to engineer the best return for their shareholders.

Recognise their value; applaud their commitment and support their intellect and let's do away once and for all with this stereotypical sort of thinking which organisations such as Catalyst regularly uncover.