Behind Every Great Woman, Is a Primary Care Giver?

I’m liking the combination of “smart” and “snark” factor in this blog, which rightly takes on the sexist tweaks women leaders still face when considering how to build influence in business. Like male leaders, if we need a family, we need someone to raise the kids for us? Our culture is still so backwards, to relegate one half of a partnership to the home, and the other half to 50-75 hours at work. I like the way you reframe the whole question: Perhaps the phrase should instead be “Behind every great leader is a support network, future-focused organization and an awareness that relationships can rarely be project managed.” The raw truth about effective leaders is that, whatever their marital status, they have an invisible support network that makes it possible for them to shine. I’m a big advocate for gratitude and transparency — so we can dump the great wo/man myth of individualist self-sufficiency. Imagine the leadership training — build the network of people who let you do your job well (including your daycare provider, your partner, your house cleaner, your gardener, your neighbors, your mechanic, and your business partners), reward them well, and never pretend you can do it all!

The HSM Blog


by Emma Birchall, Head of Research, Future of Work
Not a particularly catchy phrase is it? Yet, it was perhaps the loudest message to attendees of a recent conference on gender in the workplace.

The delegates, predominantly 20- and 30- somethings, were treated to a line up of some of the most incredible women in the fields of business, government, finance and media. Many of these inspirational leaders attributed their success to good networks, a strong sense of purpose and never shying away from risks and opportunities when they arose. Interestingly, however, many also emphasised the importance of “finding the right husband.” And in this case, the right husband was one who would be prepared to raise the kids, relocate for your career as quickly as he would for his own, and who would accept your long working hours, high stress levels and long periods of absence.

Now, few women…

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  1. Hi Carol, many thanks for your comments. The superwoman/superman myth is certainly one we need to do away with!


    1. Yes, it is! I think it is a potential dealbreaker for sustainable leadership development over a career. Have you read The Fall of the Alphas? (new book by Dana Ardi)? She argues the superiority of Beta leadership style, more collaborative and inclusive. The superwoman/superman myth falls to the wayside when the point is to create effective business communities, not superstars.


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