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Sisters are doin’ it for themselves

Women are their own worst enemies in business, with research released today indicating that over a quarter (26%) are reluctant to hire a woman who has children or is of child-bearing age (25%).

The findings, commissioned by serviced office operator Business Environment, shows that despite having a tougher time achieving career success than men, women do little to support their fellow sex and can even be the first to criticise.

Nearly three quarters (72%) said they had judged other female colleagues on inappropriate dress, compared to just 60% of men. They also have more respect for male business role models, with a quarter (28%) citing Richard Branson’s management style as one they aspire to, compared with just one in ten (12%) opting for Karen Brady’s.

The results of the survey are a real blow to women, says David Saul, managing director of Business Environment: “Although women are often considered as the kinder sex – especially in the cut-throat world of business – it seems that these outdated characterisations are no longer accurate.

“Women are just as competitive as men when it comes to getting ahead in their careers and they don’t seem to show any empathy towards other women – hiring and firing according to what’s best for business bottom-line regardless of gender.”

However, business-women are still the hardest-working of the sexes and appear to be the biggest culprits of presenteeism. Nearly three quarters (71%) admit they feel it necessary to work longer hours to move up the career ladder, and 64% regularly work despite being ill, compared to 67% and 59% respectively for their male counterparts.
It also appears that women still feel the pressures of being a female in the workplace with 57% compelled to dress more powerfully to get ahead in business. More than a third (36%) also admit to wearing more make-up at the office.

Despite all of this, women still rate qualities such as ‘understanding’ and ‘calmness’ over ‘dominance’ in a manager, which contradicts the perception of how they behave yet expect to be treated in the workplace.

Saul added: “It’s well-documented that women still have some way to go in terms of getting the same career opportunities as men and in demanding equal pay. But the evidence suggests that they are becoming just as ruthless as their fellow business colleagues, so it surely won’t be long until they are on an even keel.”

David Saul David Saul is Managing Director for Business Environment