Role Models, Glass Cliffs and Marissa Mayer: Should women be managing “as women” or “like men”?

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3 Responses

  1. cllewellyn says:

    Great post, Scarlett! I think you draw out an important tension. We can’t simply assume that promoting women to higher level positions will fix gender inequality throughout the workplace. Women who are successful and placed on the glass cliff have often gotten to this position by employing traditionally masculine tactics that undermine equality. But, at the same time, it is probably counterproductive to scrutinize these women.

    I wonder how we can avoid this scrutiny and if you have read or examined any ways to promote successful women role models without falling into this trap.

  2. scarlettbrown says:

    Thank you!
    I totally agree, and I am reluctant to place further criticism on successful women, it is as you say completely counterproductive.

    Iuation is unique. I almost resent the ‘having it all’ notion as unrealistics. think the role model issue is a huge one – An example I left out of this piece was Helena Morrissey, who was actually the inspiration for the piece – she is extremely successful in business, committed to gender equality, AND has 9 children. In some ways she is an excellent role model, and yet in others I know that her situation is unique. There are all sorts of layers of financial, situational and educational privilege that often get left out of the discussion and the fact that she is a ‘successful woman’ is enough to qualify her for role model status.

    I realise that is more of a ramble that an answer – I think maybe I am calling for realistic role models for young woman, and ones they can relate to. This may also mean piecemeal role models are necessary. Most importantly though I don’t think we should forget that men can be role models too, and definitely have a role to play in mentoring and sponsoring. Otherwise all we do is put extra layers of responsibility onto already overworked senior women, to support women below them.

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