We think of power being at the top of our most visible structures …. government and large corporations. And that’s where the 80:20 balance persists and in some cases women don’t even reach the 20% number. The ratio of women to men as CEOs of the top 100 companies (FTSE) in the UK is still only 2 to 98 so that’s a proportion of 98:2 instead.
How will we ever create change? It’s coming up to a century since women were first given the vote in the UK (1918) and I am sure they felt that the job was done when they finally achieved that but not so. 100 years later and women are still marginalised at the top levels of government (now only 3 women in the Cabinet, as of last week) and business.
The question is …. do we need to be in those top Ministerial and CEO and Company Board positions to create change and have influence? Well yes, I think so, but perhaps not entirely ….. BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour has just published their 2014 list of women who they are calling Game Changers, the top 10 most influential women and none of them are in Government, and only one is a business CEO.
The women selected this year seem to be using their influence to challenge power. Baroness Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered Stephen Lawrence, has been named ‘most powerful woman’ and most of the women on the list are activists or campaigners. They are getting on with things outside the system, doggedly and passionately working for change.
That’s definitely something to think about. As more and more women demonstrate their skills and abilities in the public service, volunteer and social change arena, perhaps they will be “seen” and invited to change the game where it desperately needs change … inside the system.
Let’s think about what we can each get active, or more active, in ……. what cause can we take up or align to with greater energy, passion, vision and action? Women focusing on the greater good are making a difference and getting noticed.
The 2014 list in full from BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour is:
1. Doreen Lawrence, OBE – anti-racism campaigner
2. Julie Bailey, CBE – campaigner and founder of Cure the NHS
3. Professor Nazneen Rahman – geneticist and cancer specialist
4. Carmel McConnell – activist and founder of Magic Breakfast
5. Julie Bentley – chief executive of Girlguiding
6. Nimco Ali & Leyla Hussein (jointly) – anti-FGM activists
7. Dido Harding – CEO, TalkTalk Group
8. Francesca Martinez – comedian, actor and disability campaigner
9. Laura Bates – founder of the Everyday Sexism Project
10. Caitlin Moran – journalist and author