Some years back, former Chairman and CEO of Shell U.K., John Collins, once sent the following memo to employees:

“For too long macho management has been hailed as the only way to run things, and that has put women at a disadvantage, with their abilities measured against criteria set by men. This has been a tremendous waste of talent – something that business can no longer afford.”

If you are a woman in management, you are probably all too well aware of this! If you are a male manager you may also have an idea that this is so, even though you have not been personally affected by it.


All too often women hit what is called the ‘glass ceiling’; a seemingly invisible barrier that stops them getting further up the corporation or into traditionally male-dominated areas of work.

Take some time to research your own organisation. What is the representation of women in management? What sectors are they working in? What percentages of women are at each level of management? How many women are at board level? How do women managers’ wages compare with their male counterparts?

Once you have gathered basic information, ask yourself the following two key questions:

1. What is your explanation for this?
2. How can it be changed?

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