David Prosser: Success or failure is not about gender
Tuesday 04 August 2009
Outlook: Harriet Harman can't seem to help herself. Having talked utter nonsense earlier this year about Sir Fred Goodwin and the court of public opinion, now she's returned to another favourite theme – how the credit crisis is all the fault of blokes.
The Deputy Prime Minister probably hasn't heard of Blythe Masters, the pioneering JP Morgan banker who invented collateralised debt obligations (CDOs), one of the financial weapons of mass destruction that prompted this crisis. She will know Nicola Horlick, however, caught out like so many others, chasing the impossible returns offered by Bernard Madoff's funds.
What's really irritating about Harman's glibness is that it gets in the way of dealing with a genuine issue. Where women have reached senior levels in the City, they've made the same mistakes as their male counterparts.
Women, like men, sometimes prove to be brilliant and sometimes they turn out to be incompetent or greedy. That, however, is not to say that the glass-ceiling has been shattered. Just 16 per cent of FTSE 100 companies have even a single female board member. The figure falls to 4 per cent if you look at the UK's 2,000 or so largest companies.
We should, of course, be aiming for big increases in these figures, but not because appointing women to senior jobs will mean they curb the behaviour of aggressive, risk-taking boys. No, women deserve a fair crack on their own merits and because that is natural justice.
The Deputy Prime Minister might also want to have a look at her own profession. The Cabinet is hardly an advertisement for equal opportunities, after all. Mind you, it does rather prove the point that some women who reach top jobs are, like some of their male colleagues, more up to the task than others.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Islamic State: Pope is 'being targeted by Isis', Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
Scotland independence: A nation divided against itself: Brown says SNP are liars. Darling joins in. Salmond fights back
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Richard III: Two years after his body was found scientists discover how he died
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
iJobs Money & Business
£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...
£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...
£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...