Tag Archives: gender

The high price of female success

We all know that we can’t have it all but there often seems to be something in the female genes to suggest we might, if we simply worked a bit harder… and then a bit harder.

From personal experience it seems to me that women face more risks than men today when they set out for the top in their chosen industry.

One risk is that married women might put their career before their marriage and end up professionally successful but living alone. Which might be preferable for some of course…

Another is that women returning to work after maternity leave may feel the need to opt for part time roles so they can fit in their childcare and home responsibilities.

And I’m sure we all know or have read about women who delay starting a family until it’s too late and live to regret this. Of course some don’t regret this at all, but with women delaying their families until they’re financially better off in their 40s, it’s statistically much riskier to give birth then than in their 20s and 30s.

The final risk I see is that successful females end up being the success they crave but don’t recognise the person they have become to get there, as US singer-actress Fanny Brice explains so well…

“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where will you be?”

Aren’t these career risks the same for men?

I don’t think men face the same career risks. Those I know who are ambitious, successful and keen to have a family seem to have rolled out their career carpet at an early stage and chosen a partner who supports their ambition, appreciates the lifestyle rewards and is willing to play second fiddle to her husband. Having thought long and hard about this, I honestly don’t know any men who took time out from their careers to be full time Dads (time off to help when the baby was born, yes) compared to the many Mums that do. And finally, very few men seem to suffer anything like the same feelings of guilt that women do, trying to juggle home, family and career responsibilities.

Many of these risks evidently exist for ambitious women in the motor industry whether they are at the top, getting close to the top or simply starting at the bottom. Despite it being generally agreed that more women are a good thing in the industry, few leading businesses seem to have diversity at the top of their strategic agenda and few female school leavers and/or graduates seem aware of the exciting career opportunities they could be enjoying in this male dominated industry.

How do women in the motor industry see this?

I am often intrigued when women at the top of male dominated industries say they haven’t encountered discrimination on the way up. They probably haven’t because they’ve had to be exceptionally talented to get there in the first place. But they’d have to be blind to see that this isn’t true for everyone, including women who perhaps aren’t quite as exceptional or dedicated. And mightn’t the sacrifices that these exceptional females have made be deterring other very talented women from following in their wake? There are still so many motor industry Companies without even one female Executive Board Director, as things stand.

The reason this matters is because women in influential and customer facing roles can be seen as role models for tomorrow’s leaders, in an industry that needs to be seen as a more female friendly place than it is today, to please the gender spender, the female shopper.

At present too many women see garages and car showrooms as places to avoid, where you need to take a man with you for support, or where you need to enter with guns blazing for fear of being patronised and/or ripped off.

Hear, hear Fanny Brice. Nobody can have it all in life, of course, and I’m only speaking for me but I’d like to see women being encouraged to be the women they are, not men in skirts (as it were).

Let’s celebrate the fact that men and women work best together (as in marriage) when it’s seen to be a partnership, not a battle of the sexes. That’s the success we should all want to work towards in business, with women playing an equal part alongside men. And if this requires changes to business culture and/or working hours to help women, in particular, through their family years, then so be it.


Surveys about women drivers to please men

We all know we are different, so what is there that’s new to tell us about each other?

Well, a recent survey says women don’t clean their darling cars as often as men.

Shock horror – what sort of sluts are we females?

Let me suggest three reasons why this might be the case.

1 We are too busy doing everything else

2 We have asked someone else to do this for us (a man probably – they are very good at this I find)

3 We are talking about a car to take us from A to B, not live in…

And another survey in the same week says that men feel unsafe when the car is driven by their wife or girlfriend. But not if she is driving sober so he can down a few pints I suspect.

The fact is that these sorts of survey get published and businesses who sponsor them get mentioned, especially online or as fillers in male magazines and motoring publications.

The reason they get published (and then read by people like me) is to do with the differences between the two genders.

Whereas if women drivers were to publish ‘I feel frightened when my husband drives’ (and there must be many of us who do feel that way) there’d be a savage outcry from men whose pride had been dented and because they are fed up reading that women are doing well in all areas of their lives, especially the ones that used to be ‘male domain’.

Whereas we women are the peacemakers (yes, dear, you are the best…), we have a vital sense of humour (…yawn…), realise that none of this trivia matters very much and have more important things to do anyway; family, children, homes, career, community, leisure, holidays, fashion and so on.

Finally we know we are better drivers because insurance companies keep on telling us and they should know.

No contest men – get used to it! Or dig out that sense of humour (you’ll find it below the sense of indignation you feel when anyone challenges your male preserves…).

And it’s perfectly normal for you to feel this way – it’s how we are hard wired respectively.