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Help please - inspiring women leaders

(46 Posts)
Thrubwell Mon 30-Oct-17 10:42:14

I have been asked to give a talk to business people on why women are more appropriate leaders for the 21st century. The objective is to get the power holding men to understand that if they want their business to be more enduring and successful, they really need to develop a strong pipeline of women leaders that can rise to the very top and balance genders throughout organisations.

I would really like to cite some examples of inspiring women leaders and what made them so. I think it would also be great if they were current and perhaps not the usual suspects.

Any examples would be most gratefully received.

TIA

hackmum Mon 30-Oct-17 12:07:45

Steve Shirley is pretty impressive, though she's now 84, so perhaps not current enough. And she has been written about a lot. But she does have a good story to tell.

www.steveshirley.com

grasspigeons Mon 30-Oct-17 12:11:44

I find Maggie Aderin-Pocock very inspiring, although I'm not sure she's a business leader as such

headintheproverbial Mon 30-Oct-17 12:13:31

Angela Ahrendts - CEO of Burberry for a long time, now head of retail for Apple.

Want2bSupermum Mon 30-Oct-17 12:16:38

I think you need to point out that 50% of the population is female. Not promoting women means they are greatly limiting their talent pool. There aren't many women to give as an example. As a company I would give Pepsi as an example. They promote women at all levels. I know women in sales roles who are successful at working in a senior career while raising 3-4 children. Their Ohs work too.

There aren't that many women to give as examples because the women in the position to move into those positions are mid 40s and the workplace wasn't supportive early on so many left.

IAmTheDragon Mon 30-Oct-17 12:22:54

It's not an example of an inspiring individual, but I think this article makes a good case (as a starter for ten) for why up-and-coming women are a force to be reckoned with. It points out of a lot of character strengths that women have over men:

www.stylist.co.uk/life/millennial-women-powerful-generation-ann-shoket-money-career-reading-success-family-love

Want2bSupermum Mon 30-Oct-17 12:33:00

I think you need to point out that 50% of the population is female. Not promoting women means they are greatly limiting their talent pool. There aren't many women to give as an example. As a company I would give Pepsi as an example. They promote women at all levels. I know women in sales roles who are successful at working in a senior career while raising 3-4 children. Their Ohs work too.

There aren't that many women to give as examples because the women in the position to move into those positions are mid 40s and the workplace wasn't supportive early on so many left.

WhereAreWeNow Mon 30-Oct-17 13:57:53

How about Frances O'Grady, first woman general secretary of TUC
Dr Sue Black
Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of CBI

I don't hold with the line that businesses should promote more women because women have all these qualities that are good for business (eg. empathy, communication skills etc). Cordelia Fine has some good lines on this in Testosterone Rex and Delusions of Gender.
But I do think there's lots you can say about the need to have leadership that reflects the rest of the workforce/society/your consumer base and the need to get away from the groupthink that you can get when you have boards populated by white men who all play at the same golf club.

DJBaggySmalls Mon 30-Oct-17 14:18:33

A talk on ''why women are more appropriate leaders for the 21st century''? More appropriate than men?
I'd challenge the title of the talk, and ask how it sounds if they replace the word 'women' with other groups. We are 50% of the population but not 50% of the leaders. Thats most likely caused to bias and the extra responsibilities working women have to take on.

Feminism isn't patriarchal hierarchy stood on its head with women at the top.

Thrubwell Mon 30-Oct-17 17:47:13

Thanks for all the great replies. DJBaggySmalls - I agree with you, however I am choosing to be deliberately provocative in the title. What I am really after is a blended approach to leadership which may look like 50:50. However, at the moment most of the FTSE100 companies are congratulating themselves for having ticked a box of having one female director on the Board, even though most are NEDs.

I'm still after as many examples of inspirational women leaders as I can get, so please keep them coming.

DJBaggySmalls Mon 30-Oct-17 17:56:41

How about Anita Roddick?
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Roddick

Want2bSupermum Mon 30-Oct-17 18:05:26

I thought of Anita Roddick but discounted her because she was the owner. She started the company and didn't rise up through the ranks.

MagdalenLaundry Mon 30-Oct-17 18:08:20

Not a business leader but an Olympian and woman of the year thlhmm

Want2bSupermum Mon 30-Oct-17 20:36:49

I don't recommend being deliberately provocative with your title. Women are not better leaders than men. People are leaders and people fall into two broad categories, those who are men and women.

Thrubwell Mon 30-Oct-17 21:20:03

Stated that way, there’s little motivation to move from the stays quo

nocoolnamesleft Mon 30-Oct-17 22:10:03

Professor Neena Modi, chair of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Reckoned by a fair proportion of doctors to have the biggest balls, erhem ovaries, of all the heads of the royal colleges, when it comes to standing up to the government both on behalf of junior doctors, and for patients.

LineysRun Mon 30-Oct-17 22:15:10

A lot of men find 50% provocative.

Helena Morrissey went for a third, I think?

Fucking awful, though.

Want2bSupermum Mon 30-Oct-17 23:33:59

Well personally I think more women make better leaders then men. Given the higher educational attainment of women compared to men these days I would assume the percentage of women in leadership roles to be more than 50% in the future.

For me the percentage doesn't matter. It's the fact there are so many known inequalities that result in talent not being recognized, nurtured and promoted.

PashPash Mon 30-Oct-17 23:40:01

Specifically business leaders?

If not I’ve always thought Angela Merkel rather inspiring.

Want2bSupermum Mon 30-Oct-17 23:58:57

Also Clara Furse. She was previously heading up the LSE. Very accomplished.

Queenofthedrivensnow Tue 31-Oct-17 00:17:59

Does it have to be business?

MeRichard Tue 31-Oct-17 05:21:37

Naomi Climer. President of the IET (ex - you only get one year)

Although she may not be senior enough for you yet... Stella Medlicott. VP Marketing, Communications & Government Relations - Europe and Latin America - ‎Ericsson (I think)

In both cases; to meet them is to be inspired and I am sure if you wrote to them then they would help.

Good luck.

Thrubwell Tue 31-Oct-17 08:24:31

This is good, keep'em coming. Doesn't have to be business women, but it helps if they are in a field that business people will relate to.

Thanks for contributions.

Fosterdog123 Tue 31-Oct-17 08:51:15

This isn't particularly 'intelligent' but.....I really like Dragons Den. It's typically 50:50 split, with 2 successful women from various fields and Deborah in particular will call out anyone who tries to defer to one of the male dragons and she'll pull anyone up who tried to talk over her. She's fiercely intelligent, uses humour well, knows her stuff and seems very fair.

Want2bSupermum Tue 31-Oct-17 10:00:19

If you want to show business people something sobering go on wilkipedia and write down the list of notable pupils and the categories for cheltenham ladies college and Eton. There are so many men and so few women. Both schools have similar academic achievements and both sets of pupils come from wealthy families. There should not be such a big divide in numbers.

You can do that for pretty much any top private boarding school or highly selective private day school such as city of London for girls vs the boys school.

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