Queen Bees – Have You Pulled The Career Ladder Up Behind You?
Queen Bees…we have all met one, you know the women who have reached the top and rather than acting as a role model or mentor to other women, instead pull the career ladder up behind them.
Today, Wednesday 8th March 2017 is International Women’s Day. This got me thinking about women in the workplace, and what we can all do to encourage and support women striving to make their way in the workplace and achieve gender parity. So, what is International Women’s Day? International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. To find out more, visit:
International Women’s Day 2017
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been in existence since in the early 1900’s – a time of the industrial revolution which saw the global population boom, two World Wars where women not only took on the traditional roles of men, but excelled at them to, to the sexual liberation to an increasing number of women entering the work place and demanding equal pay! Significant change, yet gender parity remains a big problem in the workplace.
We have many great female role models: Dame Kelly Holmes, Emma Watson, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Stephanie Flanders, Oprah Winfrey, the late Jo Cox, to name but a few. Women we can look up to and reflect on not only their achievements but their battles to realise their ambitions, their dreams etc.
Yet, research undertaken by global technology association ISACA, found that 48 per cent of women identified a lack of mentors as the main barrier in the industry, while 42 per cent believed it was a lack of female role models in the field. So, is this just confined to technology? I would argue no! There are simply not enough female role models in the workplace, let alone mentors. Yet, women do reach the top, so why are we seeing a shortage of good role models and mentors?
Is it that once at the top, these successful women do not have the time to nurture other talent? We know of many successful women who do find the time and consider it a key part of their role to help other women. However, there are some women unfortunately, who although they speak all the right words and seem to do the right things, actually do so without integrity or sincerity. I worked with one such woman. Initially, I really admired her and genuinely believed that she was all about helping other women realise their ambitions. Slowly, over time though I came to the realisation that she paid only lip service to this, and liked to be seen to do the right things to gain further advancement in her own career. When changes in senior management saw an increase in male senior management, this woman who I once admired became cruel to other women, often making hurtful remarks in front of others, questioning competence etc. It was one of the biggest disappointments of my career! This woman who I had so admired was superficial; she was not lowering the career ladder, she was pulling it up behind her, and fast. She was a Queen Bee!
It was one of the biggest lessons for me, and I vowed as my own career advanced that I would strive to be anything but this woman. I networked, and have met great women, who like me believe genuinely that it is our role to be passionate about the development and advancement of women, and offer ourselves as pro bono coaches and/or mentors to other women. I joined the Aspire Foundation as a mentor and promoted the mentoring scheme to all I know. Many of my colleagues and friends are now also mentors, and we consider it a great privilege to mentor other women, in the hope that they will then return the favour and mentor a woman also. It has been empowering and humbling to mentor some truly great women who are struggling in the workplace. My call to action to any woman reading this post is to contact the Aspire Foundation and offer yourself as a mentor and lower that career ladder! To find out more about how to become a mentor with The Aspire Foundation, visit:
The Aspire Foundation Mentoring Scheme