Powerful Women: Dancing on the Glass Ceiling

Powerful Women: Dancing on the Glass Ceiling

Powerful Women: Dancing on the Glass Ceiling

Powerful Women: Dancing on the Glass Ceiling


The facts are irrefutable. Women hold only five per cent of directorships in the UK's 200 largest companies. Only one woman is Chief Executive of a FTSE 100 company. This book gets to grips with exactly what is happening for women in the world of business today - the opportunities they have, the pitfalls they face and the triumphs they achieve in what, in many ways, is still a male-centric society.

Despite the statistics, there is a whole raft of talented women battering down the doors of the UK's boardrooms. Sam Parkhouse skilfully pulls out some of the common threads that bind together this elite group of women. We see how certain industries have glass ceilings that are tougher to break through than others. We also learn exactly how many of the traditional qualities associated with women - multi-tasking, creativity, networking, the rejection of corporate life - hold true across the board, and what new skills are required and new opportunities offered to women working in a connected economy. We are also invited to delve into their private lives, to see exactly how they juggle the requirements of an intensely demanding job and a balanced personal and family life. We discover that there are many fundamental values held by these women that we could all learn from, irrespective of gender.

From this book we learn:

  • How these women have made it to the top
  • Their contribution to the business world
  • How others can follow in their footsteps
Sam Parkhouse brings us face-to-face with the most sassy, brave, switched-on and entrepreneurial women who are driving business forward in the UK today. All the women featured have bags of attitude, grit, determination and a sheer bloody-mindedness to succeed. New and first-hand accounts are provided on such women as Martha Lane-Fox (lastminute.com), Beverly Hodson (WHSmiths), Gail Rebuck (Random House), Marjorie Scardino (Pearson) and Nicola Horlick (Societe Generale). Often the very public faces of their businesses, and there to be shot at by all and sundry, these are the women that are shaping the business landscape today.


James Dyson

The best entrepreneurship involves, amongst other skills, getting passionate about a problem and solving it. Gains in profit, market share, and new markets are all significantly more likely to occur as a result of recent innovations. We have to realise how crucially important science, engineering and design are to this country. We need to inspire and empower scientists and engineers to be entrepreneurs – to develop new technology to solve problems.

So, as an employer, I am concerned that there are so few women who follow the engineering and manufacturing path. Despite our best efforts only 20 of the 350 engineers we employ at Dyson are women, and most of those have fathers who were themselves engineers and encouraged them from an early age.

Why is engineering so unappealing to women? the exceptions to the rule seem to indicate that it’s the influence of the family and education that is directing young people, and especially young women, away from engineering and manufacturing. It seems that people are making a value judgement that these are inferior pursuits. Instead, we want our young people, and in particular our young women, to join a profession where, it is believed, status and respectability reside. and although no one likes . . .

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