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Do We Really Need Women on Boards?

Business woman on escalator

On the way up? Photo: cc MiriamPastor via Flickr

For as long as I can remember I wanted to run a large company and change the world. The trouble was I got expelled from school with no qualifications and had to work very hard to get myself qualified and onto the ‘ladder’. My chosen industry was IT, which was incredibly male dominated and hugely sexist. Not that these things ever bothered me, I was rather good at saying it like it was. What did bother me was to see incompetent others – dare I say males – getting positions that I could do standing on my head. My outspokenness and entrepreneurial spirit probably didn’t help either.

But that aside, I worked my butt off in the vain hope that I would be chosen to sit on the board. It never happened. I made it to the senior leadership team and then something happened: I was made redundant. So with a bitter heart I shunned the corporate world and left them to their petty politics and stupid antics.

I love being self-employed, it suits my lifestyle and the way in which I choose to live and work. I do work with the corporate world, mainly around building personal branding for organisational success.

I am on a mission to get as many people as possible to connect with who they are – to really understand their passion, purpose and values and create a vision that enables them to do what they are fantastic at, rather than just good at, to be brilliant. We all have inspirational messages and these need to be shared.

For many women connecting with themselves means that they often abandon the corporate world because they discover their brand values no longer match those of their employers.

Women can make a difference

My wish is for more women to stay, to get onto the boards and then change the culture from the inside, creating opportunities for the right people, regardless of gender or anything else, to build corporations that are socially responsible and help make our world a better place in which to live and work.

Is it achievable? I don’t know, I do not possess a crystal ball. What I do know is that corruption, greed, famine, pollution and a myriad of other things are affecting the world and these need to be addressed. If we could all see where we fit in the value chain, we could make a difference.

Would more women on boards make a difference? I guess that has to do with the woman and what her values are. But if we don’t give women a chance to share their many gifts and perspectives, how can we bring about the changes required to make the planet a better place for people to live and work?

What has creating a better planet got to do with women on boards?

Embracing difference

I believe that women are different from men. Yes, there are some amazing men who do fantastic things and, equally, some pretty horrible women. But, on the whole, we embrace difference and are accepting and respectful of individuality. For me, it is important to see the person, not their gender, the colour of their skin, height, clothes. I don’t care what their beliefs or politics are (as long as no-one gets hurt). And what has sexual orientation got to do with anything? We live in a colourful world that could, if we have the right people in the right places, be safe, positive and nurturing. And who better to do the nurturing than women, who were created to protect the family.

Let’s embrace and celebrate the richness that diversity brings.

So back to my question: do we need more women on boards? Yes. And we  need to weave a glorious tapestry, whereby, in collaboration we can do what needs to be done and do it with respect for others.

Making your move

If you are up for the challenge, how can you get onto the board?

  1. Work out who you are, what drives you, what your values, passion, purpose and vision are.
  2. When you are connected to these basics, ask if you are in the right place to make a difference.
  3. If not – get out.
  4. Work on your personal brand. I hate to say it, but think of yourself as a product. You are in the business of running your life.
  5. Ask yourself ‘what has to happen to help me get into the position I want to be in and who can help me?’ Mentors are wonderful. Who could be your mentor?
  6. And breathe.  If you know who you are and where you want be, then enjoy today knowing that you are helping to make a tomorrow that is even more enjoyable.

That is rather simplistic, I know, because there are so many variables. But if you try and believe you can, who knows what you can do?

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