... but real women can still get ahead

A wider role in the home is often incompatible with being a breadwinner . Glenda Cooper on the latest research
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The Independent Online
The 1980s "Working Girl" image is out of date, with women no longer having to resort to adopting male characteristics to get ahead at work.

In the past it has been thought that the women who did best were those who employed masculine qualities such as assertiveness, aggression and dominance.

By doing this it was thought they were more valued by others and in their own eyes than their sisters who were seen as more traditionally feminine.

But Sara Paterson, psychologist at the University of Westminster, told the British Psychological Society's Women and Psychology Conference in Loughborough her study of 50 women in a variety of profession - including computer programmers, physiotherapists and chefs - showed that women who were characterised by more feminine qualities, such as empathy, friendliness and compassion, did just as well at work and valued themselves as highly.

Ms Paterson said she was thrilled by the findings.

"Now women can be seen as powerful women while still acknowledging their femininity."