Women And Career Breaks

Women And Career Breaks

Women and Career Breaks

Another reason explaining the smaller supply, or low profile, of women when it comes to recruiting board members is their comparatively late arrival at the top of their businesses because they've taken career breaks, have started on a specific career path several years later than their male contemporaries, or have not had the same promotion opportunities as their male colleagues. The fact that many women have additional responsibilities to children and other domestic duties, leads some men to conclude that they would not be fully committed to board work.

The loud riposte to this from successful women is: 'Untrue - we'd try even harder to make up for it.' 1 was appalled to learn of several examples of male executives discussing the unreliability of women in senior positions because of school holidays, sickness and so on. One woman reported overhearing a man say, 'Women in the workforce are useful for only three weeks of every month'. Where these attitudes prevail, education and proving ability by example is going to be a long and uphill struggle.

All this assumes, of course, that women want to move up to board level. From the women's point of view, taking on board responsibilities does not always look the golden prize that it is purported to be. Indeed, many of the reactions would probably surprise and shock the men. For example, 'As boards are dominated by a few (rather stuffy) men, it would probably be really tedious working with them' and, 'Much boardroom business can be seen as boring'.

The boardroom is still perceived to be a predominantly macho domain which functions on male lines and women cannot easily flourish in this environment without great personal sacrifice. They do however realize that, if this is to change, the effort will have to emanate from them and it will probably come about when we achieve a generation of career-oriented women who reach board level without it being any more of a fight and/or remarkable than it is for the men.

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ligaturemagazine.co.uk looks at the role women play in business in 2016 and by focusing on the past seeks to improve the prospects for all UK women in the work force. We offer women a chance to join a non profit making group of similar women to give advice and career support.