Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Tough ambitious females

It's depressing how many working women feel they can't be themselves but can only prove their worth by being even more macho and ruthless than men.

It happens in so many jobs - estate agents, politicians, office workers, sales reps. Instead of bringing a bit more sensitivity and humanity into the workplace, they just switch themselves off and become as hard-bitten and go-getting as the men. They turn into soulless apparat-chicks.

Of course they don't necessarily want to be like that. In most cases they probably feel they have no alternative if they want to be taken seriously and climb up the career ladder.

Too many men still think a woman who treats her customers and workmates like human beings is some sort of pinko wimp who's just not up to the job - and is trying to undermine her male co-workers' credibility.

I've nothing against ambitious women, if that's their bag. If they want to be a company boss or a government minister, that's fine by me. As long as they don't morph into a hawk-eyed harridan on the way.

But I've had to deal with a few of these tough nuts in my time and it's no joke. Like Tracey of Floggem Estate Agents who regards any criticism of her perfect homes as a sign of insanity and acts as though I'm privileged to be invited to look at them.

Or Teresa Bullshit, MP, who tells me the health service is under colossal pressure and expecting prompt medical attention is simply unrealistic and irrational.

It's a strange irony. We applaud the fact that there are now so many women in the workforce, but if half of them are just trying to outdo the men in tight-arsed arrogance, what's the point?


  1. Studies show that women can either be liked or respected at work but not both.
    Ambition gets automatically coded as a masculine trait unfortunately

  2. Not necessarily, Medbh. I've had female bosses who were both liked and respected and in fact socialised with their colleagues out of work. I think it's true ambition is seen as masculine, which is why ambitious women often feel they have to ape the men.

  3. And meanwhile, Nick, we're all thirsting for the 'feminine' in these war-crazed, 'masculine' times. I see a lot of articles questing 'it', ready to honour the Goddess. *sigh*
    Until we get another business model and political model (Rwanda is making great strides in defining a more enlightened new government model), us women are doomed to the testosterone format. All aggression and FOAD. And women don't get promoted/elected until they demonstrate this.
    I was probably one of those female bosses you'd have like Nick. I broke the mold but was not popular with a lot of the male underlings.

  4. I have no idea where I fit in- I seem to be missing any obviously feminine or masculine traits; not really ambitious, but not particularly sensitive either. I like my job though and hope I don't give my co-workers too much cause to complain.

  5. www - Depressing that you confirm what I thought, that women wanting advancement usually have to follow the 'testosterone format'. But glad you broke the mould yourself and rejected the stereotype.

    Red - You sound a bit like me, just fairly easy-going and getting on with the job. At least you're not trampling on everyone else to get to the top of the heap.