这是什么缘故？英国领导与管理协会（the Institute of Leadership & Management）的一份新调查显示，男人在职场上的自信程度比女人高出30%。如果我们女人自己都不相信自己有能力进入董事会——并站稳脚跟，那怎么可能说服别人相信我们？
Do British businesswomen need more swagger? It is a question I raise, in all seriousness, as the subject of women as corporate directors has become a hot topic well beyond the boardroom. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would consider instituting quotas to increase the participation of women on boards--a year after Lord Mervyn Davies issued a scathing report calling for companies on the FTSE 100 to increase the proportion of their female directors to 25% by 2015, from about 15% today.
These efforts are well-intentioned but fraught. Few would dispute that a boardroom that reflects the workforce is anything but good for business (and the general well being-of society). But no corporation wants to be told how to manage its business by government, and women don't want to secure seats on boards to simply to satisfy legislation. They will wonder if it's mediocracy or meritocracy.
More importantly, these measures do nothing to address the root cause of the abysmally low numbers of women on U.K. corporate boards--which brings me back to my original question: Do women in the U.K. need to be more assertive, more like their U.S. counterparts?Consider Augmentum Consulting's figure that women make up just 9% of the boards of FTSE 250 companies; if this wasn't a poor enough result in itself, this 9% is made up of many female U.S. nationals, such as the highly talented Angela Ahrendts of Burberry (BURBY) and Logica's Jan Babiak. (The number of American women leading U.K.-based companies is also notable: Besides Burberry's Ahrendts, Pearson's (PSO) CEO Marjorie Scardino and Anglo American (AGPPY) CEO Cynthia Carroll also hail from the U.S.)
What gives? A new piece of British research by the Institute of Leadership & Management concluded that men were 30% more confident than women in the workplace. If we as women don't believe in our own ability to reach the boardroom--and stay there--what hope do we have that others will believe in us?
I believe there is a real lack of self-belief endemic in the female working population of the U.K. and one that is at complete odds with our U.S. counterparts.
Part of the problem stems from a society that, in my experience, doesn't place high expectations on most girls' career prospects. As a convent-educated female of a very traditional Army Officer father my professional aspirations were never discussed. Whilst my brother went on to gain a good degree from Oxford I limited my higher education preferring to get into full-time employment as quickly as possible.