Once again the papers are awash with stories about prejudice and unfounded views on women at work, and even though the comments made by the Glencore chairman were quashed immediately by government, I can’t help but feel that the damage has already been done by the time that officials come out and say what is required of them.

Women are “not so ambitious in business as men because they’ve got better things to do”, said Simon Murray in a quite extraordinary outburst. No doubt some will think that these types of stories are positive for the ‘women in boards’ plight as it raises awareness of the fact that this prejudice still exists.

I’m more of the opinion that they shouldn’t be raised in the first place, and it worries me that such out of place views still have a home to fester and breed at the top of a global company on the brink of a $60bn floatation.

Perhaps, when we have finally diluted the majority of boardrooms across the UK, and the rest of the world (although UK appears to be dragging its feet), there will be a natural progression and shift in top-level thinking in terms of women and their merits at work.

For now, we have to live with the fact that chairmen and head of boards can get away with making unfounded accusations, sweeping statements meant to damage the careers of women, and generalisations of the highest order. 

The problem is, people are still listening. If this continues, perhaps the idea of forcing women into the boardroom for a short period, if only to balance views and revolutionise thinking, should be re-visited.

Karen Murphy

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