Harper Collins 4th Estate
Publication date 8th February 2018
Looking over thirty-five years in business, Morrison informs the reader that she has seen a great deal of progress. More and more, women are achieving success in the business and civic arenas. She argues, however, that women still have a long way to go in their quest for equality. There are still too few women taking their seat either around the boardroom table or in the political chamber.
Moreover, she argues that women still face a dilemma when entering public life, a dilemma that pits her public life as a worker against her private life of wife and mother. She argues that many campaigns around gender equality are based on a belief that women, who wish to succeed in the public arena, should ape the lives of their male ycounterparts, disengaging themselves from the responsibilities of the private arena and devoting themselves entirely to the public, civic, sphere. This means that women may be either: excluded from high positions in public life, left feeling lonely without the comforts that a private life may bring, or exhausted by the need to juggle two full-time roles.
In addition, she argues, equality campaigns are often seen as women’s responsibility, a side issue that can be left on the margins a business discourse, one that men, who still hold most of the levers of power, can ignore. Therefore, issues of equality and the goals of achieving gender parity are often left at the bottom of organisations to be done list. Therefore the problem remains unresolved.
Moreover, she argues that we are travelling through turbulent times. Times that see: a Trump presidency, Brexit, the rise of neo-nazism, the backlash against women’s rights, and a growth in hate crimes.
However, far from being a negative time, this could be a time of opportunity. People are beginning to fight for what they are losing. In doing so, they are beginning to rethink the very nature of politics and business, asking; why are women left with the caring responsibilities, why can’t public and private responsibilities be shared so that men and women can play a role in both arenas, why are equality issues always marginalised and left in the hands of women?
This book looks at measures that Morrison has put in place, both in her private and public life, to begin to challenge the inequalities to be found within the business world. She argues that the key is including men, both in the fight to bring women into the public arena and the private world that women leave behind.
These are not new ideas. Feminists have been advocating for this for a long time. But, it is good to see them articulated, so clearly, by a woman who lives these dilemmas every day and is actively fighting for gender parity. It is a must read.