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Women in leadership
Episode 410th November 2022 • How to Take the Lead • Lee Griffith and Carrie-Ann Wade
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In this episode we share recent research as well as our own thoughts and experiences on women in leadership. We ask if women are still facing the same challenges as leaders and what needs to happen to support more women in leadership positions:

  • 02:19  – setting the context, Lean In and McKinsey report
  • 04:47 – is it because I’m a woman?
  • 11:17 – have the challenges for women changed?
  • 13:42 – the positive impact of women leaders in organisations
  • 21:58 – causes of imposter syndrome
  • 24:06 – challenging stereotypes
  • 28:40 – How to...

As always we share our top takeaways and in this episode we discuss ways to advocate and support women leaders. We discuss the need to present evidence and impacts to our organisation and whose role it is to support women in leadership. 

We reference the Women in the Workplace report carried out by McKinsey and Lean In. You can download it here:  https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/women-in-the-workplace

We also reference the Women Count report by The Pipeline: https://execpipeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Women-Count-2022-1.pdf

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Transcripts

Carrie-Ann:

For the listeners who didn't get the sound effect, there

Carrie-Ann:

was a sort of eye roll eyebrow raise thing going on there from Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

Hello listeners, and welcome to this episode of How to Take the Lead.

Carrie-Ann:

I am obviously joined by the fabulous Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

How are you doing today?

Lee:

Well, at the time of recording this, we are recording it just after

Lee:

the Truss has announced her resignation.

Lee:

It feels quite apt for a conversation about women in leadership.

Lee:

So I'm like totally pissed off at one scale, but also

Lee:

Dingdong the witch is dead.

Carrie-Ann:

I love that.

Carrie-Ann:

Excellent.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, it has been a funny few days in terms of leadership, hasn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

So yeah, I have to say, it's like, what, what is going on?

Carrie-Ann:

I don't know.

Carrie-Ann:

Talk about the state of leadership episode one we covered that.

Carrie-Ann:

We have got another episode just in the last couple of days worth of activity.

Carrie-Ann:

But as you say we are talking about women in leadership.

Carrie-Ann:

And I just wanted to set a little bit of context in terms of why

Carrie-Ann:

we wanted to cover this and some recent thinking in this space.

Carrie-Ann:

So obviously we are women leaders.

Carrie-Ann:

We consider ourselves to be women leaders, so it's an important topic

Carrie-Ann:

for us to, um, to cover and talk about.

Carrie-Ann:

Recently we attended the Women in Business Expo where we heard a lot of women.

Carrie-Ann:

Talking about leadership challenges.

Carrie-Ann:

And we also heard Helen Ashton talk about the stereotypes that

Carrie-Ann:

women face when trying to achieve senior leadership positions.

Carrie-Ann:

And the, um, the staggering stat that only there are only four women

Carrie-Ann:

chief executives in the FSE 100.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually just a couple of days ago, LeanIn and McKinzie published their

Carrie-Ann:

Women in the Workplace 2022 report.

Carrie-Ann:

It's research that they do annually.

Carrie-Ann:

They've been doing it since 2015 over in the States.

Carrie-Ann:

And I just wanted to give a little bit of an overview of what that report's found,

Carrie-Ann:

cuz I think that does lend itself to some good context for our conversation today.

Carrie-Ann:

But we are in a space where women are demanding more from work

Carrie-Ann:

and they're actually leaving companies in unprecedented

Carrie-Ann:

numbers to be able to get that.

Carrie-Ann:

Women leaders are switching jobs at the highest rate that we've ever seen.

Carrie-Ann:

Women are already, as we know, significantly underrepresented in that

Carrie-Ann:

leadership space, and for years, fewer women have risen through the ranks

Carrie-Ann:

because of that broken rung at that first step up into management position.

Carrie-Ann:

And now we're finding that companies are really struggling to hold onto the very

Carrie-Ann:

few women leaders that they actually have.

Carrie-Ann:

And all of these dynamics and that shift in sort of space are even

Carrie-Ann:

more pronounced for women of color.

Carrie-Ann:

the report shows that women leaders are just as ambitious as men.

Carrie-Ann:

But that at many companies, they face, uh, situations and circumstances that

Carrie-Ann:

make it much harder for them to advance.

Carrie-Ann:

Women though are doing more to support employee wellbeing and to foster a

Carrie-Ann:

sense of and culture of inclusion.

Carrie-Ann:

But that critical work is spreading women very thin, and most of it goes unrewarded.

Carrie-Ann:

And finally, what that report has shown in terms of kind of themes around women

Carrie-Ann:

leadership is that is increasingly important to women leaders that they

Carrie-Ann:

work for, companies that prioritize employee wellbeing, flexibility,

Carrie-Ann:

diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Carrie-Ann:

So that's kind of the context according to Leaning and McKinsey

Carrie-Ann:

in that women leadership space.

Carrie-Ann:

So I'm quite interested to hear, Lee, what your experience has been like

Carrie-Ann:

generally as a, as a woman leader, and what things stand out for you

Carrie-Ann:

in terms of your own experience.

Lee:

I mean those stats are, are unsurprising, but surprising in that

Lee:

weird paradox where they can be both things, because you hope things have pro.

Lee:

And maybe we'll talk about this a bit later, but, um, then you,

Lee:

you get reports like this and it feels like you're actually going

Lee:

backwards rather than forwards.

Lee:

I mean, my experience is, it's a really interesting one when I

Lee:

reflect on, because I don't know.

Lee:

And I still don't know to some extent whether the way I was treated in the

Lee:

workplace was a result of me being a woman or a result of me working in

Lee:

this so-called kind of fluffy PR world.

Lee:

And I think if I look at things like pay, you know, I had battles with pay.

Lee:

I know for a fact that I was paid less than people who were more

Lee:

junior than me in the organization.

Lee:

So it wasn't even about equity of my peers.

Lee:

And I don't know whether that was because I was a woman and I was being

Lee:

discriminated against, or cuz my role wasn't valued in the organization.

Lee:

And maybe it was a bit of both.

Lee:

Maybe me being a woman in that role was like the double whammy.

Lee:

I don't know, that's, that's kind of.

Lee:

Quite a hard one to unpick and will I ever really unpick and, and know for sure

Lee:

I know I was definitely discriminated against because unequal pay, I'd been

Lee:

questioned whether I had the gravitas, for example, to take on, you know, these big

Lee:

doctors and to take doctors with me when I was working in the healthcare setting.

Lee:

Would they respect me because I was a young girl?

Lee:

Was a specific question I was asked by another woman.

Lee:

Interestingly, at an interview panel, I've been asked about my plans around family

Lee:

and what my kind of future plans were.

Lee:

I worked for a bullying boss, again, was a woman, which is really interesting.

Lee:

Even when I think about my late years in corporate.

Lee:

In executive meetings, you know, the male CEO would perhaps look to the woman to

Lee:

make notes if the PA wasn't around, for example, unless it was a really important

Lee:

operational moment and he'd speak to one of the male managers to do it.

Lee:

And I thought, well that's a really interesting dynamic of where he

Lee:

thought responsibility should lie dependent on the subject.

Lee:

So yeah, I dunno

Carrie-Ann:

it is complex to sort of try to unpick why some of these

Carrie-Ann:

situations might have arisen.

Carrie-Ann:

And as you were talking through each of those I was just going tick.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, tick.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, that's happened.

Carrie-Ann:

So, you know, I have also been questioned about my plans around motherhood and being

Carrie-Ann:

told that it's being assumed that at a certain point in time I'm gonna wanna

Carrie-Ann:

go off and have children, for example, I've been questioned about my age and

Carrie-Ann:

experience in interview settings, in conversations with potential new male

Carrie-Ann:

bosses, but equally like you, I've had the same question thrown at me by women,

Carrie-Ann:

which again, I find that's probably something that is worth exploring.

Carrie-Ann:

I've been told by a recruiter that I was the preferred candidate for a role,

Carrie-Ann:

but that I would be offered X salary and then discovered that the next preferred

Carrie-Ann:

candidate who clearly wasn't number one on the list, who was a male, was

Carrie-Ann:

gonna be offered a different salary if they got asked to do the same role.

Carrie-Ann:

Being referred to as the comms girl by my chief executive when I was appointed

Carrie-Ann:

into a director level position.

Carrie-Ann:

So all of what you're saying resonates with me.

Carrie-Ann:

And again, some of it I think that happened because I'm a woman.

Carrie-Ann:

Some of it, I think that happened because of my age at the time, and

Carrie-Ann:

being perceived to be too young.

Carrie-Ann:

Some of it happened because I think you are right.

Carrie-Ann:

Perceptions of my chosen career and my area of expertise and

Carrie-Ann:

professionalism and how valued it was.

Carrie-Ann:

And some of it probably happened because of all of that intertwined together.

Carrie-Ann:

So it is, it's really hard, isn't it, to unpick exactly the whys and where fors

Carrie-Ann:

of why certain behaviors happen towards.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

And without going down, cause we've done episodes on introvert versus extrovert,

Lee:

but the, the impact and stigma that sits with introvert, that notion of, Oh,

Lee:

you're not very confident and all that.

Lee:

So I had that play in as well.

Lee:

So you, you know, take your pick of what could be the reason.

Lee:

And maybe I never, well sometimes I definitely didn't call it out, but, um,

Lee:

sometimes you only recognize in hindsight, and sometimes you only recognize it when

Lee:

other people show it up for what it is.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and I would say there are definite things that when I have

Carrie-Ann:

had these conversations with other people particularly when I've had these

Carrie-Ann:

conversations with male colleagues, or male peers or people who are men in my

Carrie-Ann:

support network have been shocked that I've been asked about when, So when are

Carrie-Ann:

you gonna go off and have kids then?

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz how, how much of you are we really gonna get and for

Carrie-Ann:

how long for if we appoint you?

Carrie-Ann:

So it's, it's clear to me that men don't get asked some of those

Carrie-Ann:

questions and don't get questioned about some of the things that women do.

Carrie-Ann:

So there's a bit of me that goes, I know some of this is because I'm female.

Carrie-Ann:

But actually, like you say, it's, it's tied up in a lot of other complexities

Carrie-Ann:

and, and as we heard from the Lean in and the McKinsey report, actually,

Carrie-Ann:

we are talking about this from the privilege of being two white women and

Carrie-Ann:

actually women of color are experiencing this, and then some, which, you know,

Carrie-Ann:

you can see is very challenging.

Lee:

And so often the complexity in these situation is there's the

Lee:

obvious, the really of out there actions that you can pick up on.

Lee:

And then there's the subliminal stuff that you don't really know why certain things

Lee:

have happened or what people are thinking or their motivations behind a decision

Lee:

that they make, which absolutely could be because you are a woman, or it could be

Lee:

that they don't think you are the right person for the job, but you don't, you,

Lee:

you might never get to the bottom of.

Carrie-Ann:

I did want us to explore a bit more in terms of what you perceive to be

Carrie-Ann:

some of those barriers and challenges for women in leadership today and that point

Carrie-Ann:

that you made earlier, but reflecting on do, do we think they've changed at all?

Carrie-Ann:

Are they different?

Carrie-Ann:

Are they new ones or are they just the same?

Lee:

I mean, I think many of the challenges are the same.

Lee:

Pay flexibility in the workplace, opportunities given in the workplace,

Lee:

general points of equality.

Lee:

You know, they're the same issues being discussed.

Lee:

But if you look at the long game, obviously there has been some progress.

Lee:

You know, women at one point couldn't vote.

Lee:

Women weren't allowed to go to work.

Lee:

It took a long while for those changes to take place.

Lee:

So I do think we need to be a bit realistic about how long we think other

Lee:

changes are gonna happen, and that does boil down to things like education

Lee:

and what are children seeing in their homes and in their personal lives?

Lee:

As an aside kid that I know already playing into that stereotype

Lee:

of mom's got to be in the kitchen and he's seven or eight.

Lee:

So that type of dynamic in the home life.

Lee:

So that's something that won't change overnight . And then there's the bit

Lee:

around what do you accept and what do you challenge in the workplace.

Lee:

So all those things need to shift, and that won't happen overnight.

Lee:

So I do think we've made in some way big strides, but we do also seem

Lee:

to be battling the same problems.

Lee:

And those figures that you stated at the beginning show that there's still a

Lee:

really, really, really long way to go.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Lee:

and I think that the stat that you mentioned about, was it 4% or something?

Carrie-Ann:

In the top 100 FTSE companies, there are only four women

Carrie-Ann:

chief executives or the rest are men.

Lee:

So there was another report that came out a couple of weeks

Lee:

ago called Women Count, and they looked at the FTSE 350, and that was

Lee:

96% of the chief execs there were.

Lee:

And 70% of companies had no female executive directors on their boards.

Carrie-Ann:

it, It is beyond comprehension really, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

And actually, I, I think the one place where we have probably made strides

Carrie-Ann:

that will be helpful in what you are talking about, which is massive cultural,

Carrie-Ann:

societal, and behavioral shift, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

Which, like you say, takes a lot of time.

Carrie-Ann:

So while we've seen some progress, we are still seeing there are, you

Carrie-Ann:

know, elements of society and parts of our culture and parts of the way

Carrie-Ann:

that we, we behave that actually just reinforce those gender stereotypes

Carrie-Ann:

and make it difficult still for women to step outside of those, I think.

Carrie-Ann:

But what I found really interesting, in the report through Lean In, was that

Carrie-Ann:

I was reading about how much positive impact women leaders have in their

Carrie-Ann:

organizations in terms of, of the culture.

Carrie-Ann:

Of prioritizing areas that make the workforce feel more valued and therefore

Carrie-Ann:

retains a workforce of creating a culture where people can be more open and

Carrie-Ann:

transparent and bring more creativity.

Carrie-Ann:

So I feel like there's like this untapped potential for what women leaders can

Carrie-Ann:

do for organizations that just somehow gets missed and that we don't really

Carrie-Ann:

seem to be able to bring to the fore enough for people to realize that,

Carrie-Ann:

just to keep perpetuating, leaders of organizations must be of a certain

Carrie-Ann:

type and, and mostly that type is men.

Carrie-Ann:

It is quite frustrating when there's clear evidence that women leaders

Carrie-Ann:

can bring so much in terms of positive return for an organization.

Lee:

And you see that more broadly with diversity and bringing diverse

Lee:

people in breeds diverse thinking and different approaches and different

Lee:

approaches to the same challenges.

Lee:

So completely agree with you.

Lee:

I think if you look at what are the barrier.

Lee:

Is that still?

Lee:

I mean, how long have we got?

Lee:

But you know, we know motherhood and childcare is still a barrier.

Lee:

We know older women put out to pasture a lot earlier than their male counterparts.

Lee:

You only have to look at Hollywood to see something that's perpetuating.

Lee:

And also side note is absolutely why I love Murder, She Wrote

Lee:

cause she really fought for that

Lee:

We know women are penalized for the natural things that happen

Lee:

to their bodies, like having periods, like having the menopause.

Lee:

We know if a woman is vocal or stands up for herself, she's called

Lee:

a bitch or loud or aggressive.

Lee:

But if a man does it, he's

Carrie-Ann:

Confident and assertive.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Lee:

In the corporate environment, there's studies that show that if a female leader,

Lee:

like a chair of a meeting, if she speaks up and she's seen as talking too much, but

Lee:

if a male chair of a meeting speaks up, he's showing leadership and confidence.

Lee:

We know women themselves underestimate their own abilities or listen to the hype

Lee:

that's out there rather and so they don't put themselves forward for jobs where

Lee:

a man might put themselves forward or they wait for people to recognize them

Lee:

before they take an action on something.

Lee:

And we know, as you've said, women are leaving companies.

Lee:

And I'm evidence of that.

Lee:

I, I stepped away from the corporate world and for me it's not just about childcare,

Lee:

which is often one of those discussions that it tends to boil down to, and I

Lee:

don't, I think it's bigger than that.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I think there's a couple of points that resonate with me in, in

Carrie-Ann:

what you said there, Lee, and I think one is around that motherhood, childcare,

Carrie-Ann:

parental responsibility challenge that women face in the workplace and that

Carrie-Ann:

absolutely 100% is a challenge for women.

Carrie-Ann:

If you are a parent, particularly a mum, I think there are expectations on you,

Carrie-Ann:

there is evidence to show that you bear more of the childcare burden For sure.

Carrie-Ann:

So trying to juggle a career as a leader and being a mum.

Carrie-Ann:

I absolutely can see must be a massive challenge.

Carrie-Ann:

So I absolutely don't doubt the constant pressures that, that

Carrie-Ann:

women must be under in that space.

Carrie-Ann:

But I have to say as somebody who's a woman but not a mum, that I have often

Carrie-Ann:

been put in a position where I felt my own experiences as a woman in the

Carrie-Ann:

workplace have been downplayed because I'm not a parent, if that makes sense.

Carrie-Ann:

So it's almost like, well how would you know cuz you haven't

Carrie-Ann:

got that responsibility.

Carrie-Ann:

And I have often felt like others have perceived that I've had an easier

Carrie-Ann:

journey in my career and in that leadership space because I, I haven't

Carrie-Ann:

got the responsibilities of being a mum.

Carrie-Ann:

And sometimes I find that quite challenging because I feel like actually

Carrie-Ann:

there have been points in my career where being a woman has been as impacted

Carrie-Ann:

negatively on things in my career.

Carrie-Ann:

So it, it shouldn't have to be about the fact that I don't

Carrie-Ann:

have children to look after.

Carrie-Ann:

For me to say I've had, I've had challenges in a difficult

Carrie-Ann:

time and barriers to overcome.

Lee:

It's hard that the conversation so often, and maybe this is the

Lee:

broader discussion we can have a bit later in this episode, is that what

Lee:

can women do to help each other?

Lee:

But often the conversation or the box that needs to be ticked is all around

Lee:

accommodating motherhood and working mums, which, I'm with you, and it's

Lee:

a really hard one, I think I might have said this to you, um, earlier in

Lee:

the week when we were chatting about something else, that I had this really

Lee:

awkward moment when I'd been reflecting on the fact that every leadership talk

Lee:

I'd gone to recently started with the woman talking about her role as a mum

Lee:

and the difficulty, and there was no one that had my experience talking and

Lee:

I almost didn't raised it because I thought am I gonna come across as the

Lee:

people who do this all people matter.

Lee:

And it's completely different situation.

Lee:

Cause I absolutely do believe that there is a place.

Lee:

Working moms it's hideous how their careers are cut out, how their

Lee:

pays impacted, how they don't get to progress, all of that stuff.

Lee:

And I want to be an advocate and support for that.

Lee:

But we also need to recognize the other experiences that women go through - you

Lee:

might not get jobs because people assume you're gonna have children . So you,

Lee:

you see, you're still getting penalized.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, and, and there's something about as well, there's

Carrie-Ann:

expectations sometimes I think on you as a woman in the workplace who doesn't

Carrie-Ann:

have children, to be able to just be 24 7 saying, Yeah, I'll do that.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I'll do the extra hours yet, I'll do out of hours on call.

Carrie-Ann:

I'll cover all of the holidays because you are trying to be

Carrie-Ann:

supportive of people who've got families to enable them to do that.

Carrie-Ann:

But at the same time, sometimes you wanna go, I, I'd still like to have a

Carrie-Ann:

week off at Easter actually, even though it's not to spend time with my children.

Carrie-Ann:

There are other reasons why I might want to be offered

Carrie-Ann:

some of that same flexibility.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think you're absolutely right, but there is almost like I can almost feel

Carrie-Ann:

myself a nervousness of, of wanting to say, It's hard for women who don't

Carrie-Ann:

have kids because I, I worry that all the women who are juggling motherhood

Carrie-Ann:

and a career and, and being in that leadership space are gonna be like,

Carrie-Ann:

Well, actually it's harder for us.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and maybe it is, but it doesn't mean that everyone shouldn't

Carrie-Ann:

be able to have a voice and reflect on their own experiences.

Lee:

And I think there's also then this character assumption made of people who

Lee:

are women leaders who don't have children because they're put in that box of.

Lee:

Maybe they're a bit cold or they're a bit heartless or they don't have

Lee:

empathy because they don't have that mothering gene in them or whatever.

Lee:

And I've definitely seen that that perception of, you know, you're

Lee:

gonna have a bit of an edge to you because you are not a mother.

Lee:

And that's a weird one that I can't fathom.

Carrie-Ann:

Again, I think we're just back to that point.

Carrie-Ann:

It's very complex space to be in, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

And unpick and work out what's best to do.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think what we're saying is, you know that the whole motherhood thing

Carrie-Ann:

is a barrier within itself and comes with a whole range of challenges,

Carrie-Ann:

whether you are a mum or not.

Carrie-Ann:

There was another bit that you briefly touched on, and I thought we might

Carrie-Ann:

go into this space and didn't, so I'm just gonna draw it out a bit.

Carrie-Ann:

But you were talking about, perceptions of women, but also maybe

Carrie-Ann:

the perceptions of our own selves and what we are able to achieve.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think, in the leadership space and the working environment, space,

Carrie-Ann:

imposter syndrome gets talked about a lot.

Carrie-Ann:

Like this is what I was interested to explore with you.

Carrie-Ann:

For the listeners who didn't get the sound effect, there was a

Carrie-Ann:

sort of eye roll eyebrow raise thing going on there from Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

So I'd like to explore it a bit more.

Carrie-Ann:

I know when we've talked, we haven't been that keen on the term.

Carrie-Ann:

But there is something there around women's own self

Carrie-Ann:

belief in their abilities.

Carrie-Ann:

You talked about the fact that women, are less likely to go for jobs if they

Carrie-Ann:

don't feel like they tick all the boxes, and that's a well shared fact, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

Women feel like they must have a hundred percent of what's on a job

Carrie-Ann:

description, be able to evidence they can do it before they'd even apply,

Carrie-Ann:

men would go for about 50% and wing the rest so that there is something there

Carrie-Ann:

in that kind of mentality, I think.

Carrie-Ann:

But interestingly, I have also heard more men talking now about the fact

Carrie-Ann:

that they have imposter syndrome.

Carrie-Ann:

And so it obviously is becoming something that isn't necessarily

Carrie-Ann:

just associated with women.

Carrie-Ann:

So your take on imposter syndrome and is it a barrier or a challenge for women in

Carrie-Ann:

the leadership space and just your views on that I'd be really interested in.

Lee:

We could do a whole other episode on imposter syndrome.

Lee:

I'm a skeptic about does imposter syndrome exist?

Lee:

I think it's a term that people have cottoned onto and used, but it masks a

Lee:

whole load of other stuff that's at play.

Lee:

So how are people being made to feel in the workplace because of maybe

Lee:

discrimination, because of all the issues that we've been talking about.

Lee:

So there's generally, if you boil down to the root cause of that feeling,

Lee:

there is usually something else at play.

Lee:

So someone's lack of confidence that makes them feel like an imposter.

Lee:

You do some coaching work with someone and you really get down to the root cause.

Lee:

They can generally pinpoint examples when they've been made to feel a certain

Lee:

way or they've perceived something.

Lee:

And so actually there's other stuff at play and I think.

Lee:

, it's become a phrase that everyone uses to try and explain away their feelings

Lee:

rather than tackle the underlying causes that are making people feel that way.

Carrie-Ann:

I like your take on that, Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

And you're, but you're absolutely right.

Carrie-Ann:

And it goes back again to some of the themes that keep coming up around the

Carrie-Ann:

culture of the organization, , all of that kind of stuff is, is the underlying reason

Carrie-Ann:

why people don't have the confidence sometimes or the self-belief that they

Carrie-Ann:

can push themselves or that they will be supported to get that promotion or take

Carrie-Ann:

that next step in their leadership career.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm glad we touched on it cause I know it's something we have talked about

Carrie-Ann:

in other places around our feelings around imposter syndrome and it's

Carrie-Ann:

often something that is labeled as a challenge for women in the workplace.

Carrie-Ann:

just to move us on, I think really now we've talked about some of the barriers.

Carrie-Ann:

I know we've really skimmed the surface cuz we could talk

Carrie-Ann:

for a lot longer about them.

Carrie-Ann:

But I wanted to just get your take on how we can start to change some

Carrie-Ann:

of that thinking around women leaders and challenge the stereotypes of

Carrie-Ann:

women in leadership positions.

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess alongside that, what, what support do we need to do this and,

Carrie-Ann:

and who do we need that support from?

Lee:

Mm, Big

Carrie-Ann:

Yes.

Carrie-Ann:

Sorry, just to throw it to you,

Lee:

I've almost got two different hats that I'm gonna have to wear

Lee:

with this answer because there's one part of me that says With equality

Lee:

issues in general, and I'm not just talking about women in leadership.

Lee:

I'm talking about diversity and race and, and all, all sorts of equality issues.

Lee:

The burden for change is so often sat with the people who are the oppressed.

Lee:

and that is the thing that makes it feel so tiring for everyone.

Lee:

And that I think shirks the responsibilities for the people who

Lee:

actually need to be making the change.

Lee:

So in one effect, I want to deflect the question and go, Well, what

Lee:

do other people need to do.

Lee:

With my other hat on women are doing a lot.

Lee:

There's some brilliant advocates and allies out there that

Lee:

are really championing women leadership and, and all of that.

Lee:

And so I don't want to do a disservice to the work that's

Lee:

going out there, but I do think.

Lee:

I've come across personally examples of women leaders who should

Lee:

be doing more for other women.

Lee:

That whole concept of lift is as you rise.

Lee:

That definitely doesn't happen.

Lee:

I think this thing that we touched on around motherhood and not always placing

Lee:

ourselves as women in that motherhood box.

Lee:

And I think also the other issue about, I hate to say it, but we, we can, we can

Lee:

tear down other women and you know, I've done that with Truss, but then she's not

Lee:

done, you know, I worry about certain examples that certain women set for other

Lee:

women and she brought the kind of cause back a few years because I dunno whether

Lee:

it was one of our episodes we spoke about last year, um, last year, last series,

Lee:

when I said I'd listen to that interview with Julia Gillard but she was saying like

Lee:

the question in, New Zealand, for example, around can a woman be a Prime Minister

Lee:

has been asked and answered three times.

Lee:

So it's not an issue there anymore.

Lee:

When she took over as the first prime minister in Australia, she

Lee:

was having to prove the point.

Lee:

Can a woman be a prime minister.

Lee:

And my worry is with the recent example that we've had, actually the

Lee:

last two women leaders in, in Britain is perhaps, raising that question

Lee:

again can women be good leaders?

Carrie-Ann:

I think that's really interesting, isn't it, around

Carrie-Ann:

challenging those stereotypes because when we talk about the Truss, and

Carrie-Ann:

you just said you, you tore her down.

Carrie-Ann:

So you've done what you've, you don't want other women to do a little bit there, but

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's a bit for me is like, where do we get that differentiation

Carrie-Ann:

around the fact that actually I think the issue is that she didn't demonstrate good

Carrie-Ann:

leadership full stop, but we're putting a label on it about her being a woman.

Carrie-Ann:

We didn't say, we didn't say about Boris Johnson.

Carrie-Ann:

We don't think he was a good example of, of male leadership.

Carrie-Ann:

We just said leadership without putting the male bit in.

Carrie-Ann:

We were like, or no, maybe some people thought he was a good example, whatever.

Carrie-Ann:

But I, I just think it's interesting that when we talk about some of these examples

Carrie-Ann:

of the good, the bad, the ugly, everything in between in terms of leadership, If

Carrie-Ann:

it's a woman leader, we feel the need to state that they're a woman leader,

Carrie-Ann:

but if it's a man, they're just a leader and I think some of that's what we have

Carrie-Ann:

to tackle as well, I'm a leader, I know we said we identify as women leaders.

Carrie-Ann:

That's cuz we're women and in leadership positions.

Carrie-Ann:

But when I am in my day to day work life, I don't feel the need label

Carrie-Ann:

myself as a woman, if that makes sense.

Carrie-Ann:

It's just quite interesting that, that we are kind of in that space.

Carrie-Ann:

I think.

Carrie-Ann:

So I was also being kind to you and saying, I, I don't feel

Carrie-Ann:

like you tore down another woman in a really terrible way Lee..

Carrie-Ann:

I think you were just highlighting some really poor leadership from

Carrie-Ann:

somebody, but it will beg that question won't it, Which is unfortunate.

Carrie-Ann:

And back to that of societal and cultural change.

Carrie-Ann:

yeah, we've got a slightly bit off topic I think there, but in a good

Carrie-Ann:

way, . I guess we're coming to that point in the conversation where

Carrie-Ann:

we do need to think about wrapping up and what our, how tos would be.

Carrie-Ann:

We like to leave people with a few top takeaways from the episode.

Carrie-Ann:

So my how tos takeaways and how we can start to challenge and change for me.

Carrie-Ann:

I feel like we need to start seeking out those advocates, in that leadership

Carrie-Ann:

space, in our organizations, in, in our fields, to start having more open

Carrie-Ann:

conversations about some of this.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think that needs to be men and women.

Carrie-Ann:

And I do absolutely agree with you.

Carrie-Ann:

I've had lots of experience, sadly, where.

Carrie-Ann:

Sometimes it, it's other women in leadership positions that have

Carrie-Ann:

done us a disservice because they haven't been supportive and open

Carrie-Ann:

and help to create a culture where they support women in that space.

Carrie-Ann:

So there's something about that advocacy and support and starting

Carrie-Ann:

to have more conversations.

Carrie-Ann:

I love you put your hand up like we were at school then

Lee:

Sorry.

Lee:

Cause I know you're trying to wrap up and I'm potentially exploding the conversation

Lee:

again, but I think it's an important one, which is, is it the job of women

Lee:

to challenge other women or should when we see those women that perhaps aren't

Lee:

helping or being an ally to others, and we talk about trying to advocate

Lee:

and be an ally, should we be doing that or should male counterparts be doing

Carrie-Ann:

my view is we should all be doing it.

Carrie-Ann:

It's a really good question, but I think we should all be doing it.

Carrie-Ann:

Men should be challenging other men when they see some issue there.

Carrie-Ann:

Women should be challenging other women and, and all the

Carrie-Ann:

ways around that spectrum.

Carrie-Ann:

I think personally for me, because I think.

Carrie-Ann:

If it's only left to one group of people to challenge another group, we'll never

Carrie-Ann:

make the progress that we need to make.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think for me, it feels like yes, absolutely women should be challenging

Carrie-Ann:

other women who perhaps are doing a disservice to the cause and, and not

Carrie-Ann:

demonstrating those good leadership characteristics of supporting others.

Carrie-Ann:

Absolutely.

Carrie-Ann:

With the caveat that I know it's much easier said than done because there's

Carrie-Ann:

probably lots of other episodes people could listen to about how to

Carrie-Ann:

build their confidence and make the space to have these conversations.

Carrie-Ann:

But yeah, I absolutely think it's everybody's job in

Carrie-Ann:

answer to that question, Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

I guess the other thing I would say around like what do we, the collective

Carrie-Ann:

we, so I don't mean we as women I mean what do we as leaders need to

Carrie-Ann:

do to support and, and make change.

Carrie-Ann:

I think we need to present the evidence in a compelling way in terms of the

Carrie-Ann:

impacts of not supporting women in that leadership space and really look to see

Carrie-Ann:

how we can demonstrate the value add of increasing the number of women leaders.

Carrie-Ann:

I sometimes think we don't have enough conversations about that, and we don't

Carrie-Ann:

do that enough in our organizations or in that leadership space.

Carrie-Ann:

We really need to be presenting that evidence to affect that change.

Carrie-Ann:

And then I think as individuals, I think it's about knowing our worth.

Carrie-Ann:

So whether you do or don't believe in imposter syndrome, whatever, I

Carrie-Ann:

think it is about knowing what we are worth and fighting personally for what

Carrie-Ann:

we've all had conversations probably about pay, about equity, flexibility.

Carrie-Ann:

I think know your worth and have those conversations.

Carrie-Ann:

Don't just settle and it, I think that can be draining and it can be hard, but

Carrie-Ann:

if you've got a good support network around you that can help with that.

Carrie-Ann:

But if we all just accept that it's okay to get paid less than the man who's doing

Carrie-Ann:

the same job as me or whatever, then that's just gonna continue, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

So know our worth because we are worth it.

Carrie-Ann:

It sounded like L'Oreal is that that is who's worth it.

Carrie-Ann:

I

Lee:

Yeah, just flicking my

Carrie-Ann:

little hair flick.

Carrie-Ann:

We're worth it.

Carrie-Ann:

Uh, what are your top takeaways from this episode?

Lee:

Well, it's actually a whole new point that I'm gonna make because

Lee:

when I knew the topic and it, it tread slightly on the topic of being an ally.

Lee:

And I thought rather than answering the question from my

Lee:

perspective, what, because I want to appeal to the male listener.

Lee:

Um, I thought I'd speak to my husband and ask him what he thought needs

Lee:

to happen to get men more involved in terms of supporting the cause

Lee:

and being an ally to women leaders.

Lee:

So I'm gonna try and paraphrase it as much as possible, but he said that,

Lee:

The whole premise of creating allies is a bit flawed because we tend to

Lee:

take an approach that one size fits all, and actually the groups that

Lee:

we're trying to appeal to aren't this homogenous group, and we need to be a

Lee:

bit more multifaceted in our approach.

Lee:

So he was making the point that like he, for example, is someone

Lee:

that likes logical reasoned argument where someone else might really be

Lee:

appealed to an emotional argument.

Lee:

And so, When you are tackling something, you need to be tailoring

Lee:

it to the person that you are trying to encourage as an ally.

Lee:

So you need to understand who you are dealing with.

Lee:

You need to understand that person, and then take action according to.

Lee:

That person.

Lee:

But his big, big caveat is that we also just need to accept that

Lee:

there's gonna be a subset of people that are never gonna be our allies.

Lee:

And this, this isn't just about women, this is about any, any kind of diverse

Lee:

group that's looking to create allyship.

Lee:

Um, and that we need to accept that rather than trying to fight it.

Lee:

And we should try to avoid causing conflict with those people cuz it devalues

Lee:

our broader argument around allyship.

Carrie-Ann:

I absolutely love that last point in there, Lee, because I do

Carrie-Ann:

agree and I think actually why would we invest all our energy in trying to

Carrie-Ann:

change the behaviors and opinions of those who absolutely are not ever gonna

Carrie-Ann:

to be part of wanting to, to do good for that cause when we could be investing

Carrie-Ann:

that time and energy on the good.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think that's, that's really pertinent and I, I love you bringing

Carrie-Ann:

in that different take and a new point.

Carrie-Ann:

I think that is a really poignant way to, to finish this conversation.

Carrie-Ann:

Other than to give a plug to a few of our other episodes that link

Carrie-Ann:

into that point that your husband made, um, which is, you might wanna

Carrie-Ann:

listen to our episode on allyship.

Carrie-Ann:

You might wanna listen to our episode on storytelling.

Carrie-Ann:

Because I think that picks up on some of those points around knowing who you're

Carrie-Ann:

trying to communicate with and doing that in a multifaceted way to get your

Carrie-Ann:

message across to different people.

Carrie-Ann:

So what better way to end this week's episode thank you so much.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm sure we will revisit some of this in the future.