I will always remember what my account director said to me after passing me up for managing a big project.
“You’re too pretty, too young and too female.”
The worst part was that he thought he was paying me a compliment rather than leveling a professional insult at me. He’s a gentleman. He likes women. Who knows, he may even consider himself a feminist, although in his mind, this is what supporting women in the workplace looks like.
But good intentions like these are pretty useless if the person in charge still perpetuates the same old prejudices. Bosses like this may be more pleasant to be around than the blokes who think women belong at home or serving them lunch at Schnitz ‘N’ Titz, but the end result for women in the workplace isn’t a lot different.
In an attempt to address this, Chief Executive Women, representing 300 of the country’s most senior women leaders, have partnered with 21 Male Champions of Change to create ‘The Leadership Shadow’.
In technical terms, The Leadership Shadow is designed to help well-meaning-but-a-little-bit clueless managers lift their game when it comes to gender diversity.