Arlene Foster on Women, Leadership and Peacebuilding

arlene2First Minister Arlene Foster delivered the fourth Harri Holkeri Lecture yesterday evening on ‘Women, Leadership and Peacebuilding’ at the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice’s Spring Festival at Queen’s.

Holkeri was a Prime Minister of Finland and took part in the Good Friday Agreement negotiations. The lecture was co-sponsored by the Finnish Embassy.

The Festival continues this week, concluding with a lecture by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on ‘Reflections on Peace in a Changed Ireland’ on 31 May.

In a largely biographical lecture, Foster emphasized the importance of Brownies and Girl Guides in her own development as a leader. She also named three women that she looked up to as inspirational leaders: former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth II, and Maud Kells, the 76-year-old missionary midwife who was survived a shooting by bandits in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A small group of pro-choice protestors stood outside of the event, calling on Foster to show ‘leadership’ by supporting women’s right to choose. Foster – who like most of her Democratic Unionist colleagues opposes abortion – was asked about this issue during the question and answer session. But she refused to be drawn into debate, saying that ‘both sides’ should use more respectful language and try to understand each other’s positions better.

Foster’s lecture was heavier on leadership than on peacebuilding – and she was also quick to say that she thought ‘good leadership transcends masculine/feminine labels.’ She said:

‘Effective leaders, male or female, seek to implement their visions, vary their behaviours contingent upon situational requirements and in general grapple successfully with the ever-changing and complex internal and external demands up on their organization.’

She related how she had a deep sense of duty instilled in her by her father, who was in the police. It was shortly after his attempted murder by the IRA that she joined the Brownies in Lisnaskea. ‘This helped at a difficult time in my formative years,’ and provided her with friendships, confidence and self-esteem.

Foster spoke briefly about why she singled out Thatcher, the Queen, and Kells as inspirational leaders, noting that Thatcher thrived ‘in a man’s world’ of the 1980s, praising the Queen’s ‘humility,’ and emphasizing Kells’ ‘courage’.

Unlike Thatcher or the Queen, Kells might not be a predictable choice for Foster. Foster said: ‘She is someone I would want to emulate. She shows her leadership through example, commitment, belief and ambition.’

In her introductory remarks, the Finnish Ambassador to the UK, Paivi Luostarinen, invoked the legacy of UN Resolution 1325, which calls for the inclusion of gendered experiences and perspectives in peacebuilding initiatives. This resolution has been credited with contributing to greater inclusion for women in peace processes throughout the world – though the UK’s national action plans on UNR 1325 have consistently excluded Northern Ireland, focusing rather on international peacekeeping.

Foster was also asked about improving women’s representation in Northern Ireland politics. Foster said that it was crucial for women to contest seats that were ‘winnable’, and said that she felt that she had not been personally discriminated against during her political career.

Many countries have gender quotas which have improved women’s representation in politics – though these have been thus-far ruled out in Northern Ireland (see Prof Yvonne Galligan’s research on how gender quotas have been shown to improve the competency of candidates of both genders).

Disclaimer: I am a research fellow in the Institute.

  • Msiegnaro

    I am bemused at how politics has been reduced to tokenism particularly as of late about how the focus seems to be more on gender and how many females are involved rather than in policy and ability.

  • murdockp

    Thatcher was an inspirational leader….. it explains a lot…

  • Pete

    Indeed, it is completely bizarre. Surely gender should be completely irrelevant?

  • CB Belfast

    Let me get this straight:

    – Do you think that, historically, there has been a fair representation of women in politics and that barriers they face are equally as challenging as those faced by men?

    – Do you think that in instances where a particular group has faced bias, discrimination and unfair barriers in entering public life, that there should be a focus on correcting that wrong and trying to learn lessons from past mistakes?

  • Msiegnaro

    So any woman regardless of ability then?

  • Croiteir

    We are in the politics of the tweet and tagline. How many debates have you heard that showed any philosophical basis lately.

  • Msiegnaro

    Valid point, it’s generally a headcount on gender and age – the human race stinks at times.

  • CB Belfast

    No. Ability should be a factor, amongst other considerations.

    Can you answer my two questions directly?

  • Msiegnaro

    As far back as the 70’s we have had a female prime minister so the opportunities are clearly there.

    I’m all for removing barriers but there currently are none, however it seems that a woman will have a competitive advantage over a man in the workplace based solely on gender.

  • CB Belfast

    Thatcher was an outlier, that’s commonly accepted. Her election was followed by a negligible increase in female representation in Parliament and she appointed only one woman to her cabinet in her whole time as PM. That is a ridiculous example to use.

    As for your second point, do you have the slightest shred of evidence to substantiate your claim that women have a competitive advantage over men in the workplace?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    And she wasn’t much of a peace builder either. It’s interesting that Arlene avoided Luostarinen’s introductory theme.

  • chrisjones2

    Under whose tenure did the peace process start?

    Who first pointed SF towards the peace corral?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Answer to question 1: It was partly due to ceaseless persuasion by senior civil servants. “I suppose there was great granny O’Sullivan”
    Answer to question 2: Gerry Adams and Danny Morrison (armalite and ballot box as complimentary then the latter eclipsing the former), MI5 infiltration and successful SAS operations in East Tyrone.
    It still took the Ra 4 years after her overthrow to declare a ceasefire and over another 8 for it to disarm. Her early years in office were marked by her determination to defeat the IRA militarily not unlike her approach to breaking the NUM.

  • Ciaran O’Connor

    Didn’t Thatcher pull up the ladder behind her? How many women did she ever have in senior positions or her cabinets for instance?

    And like the Queen rose to the top through her own talents! Inspirational as it is to all of womankind that she was born into lavish wealth and privilege and was made a God-anointed Queen by the wizard in the sky.

    I guess any girl can aspire to that. Go girls…

  • Katyusha

    It’s a reasonably good illustration that the people who actually run the show are technocrats in Brussels, civil servants in Whitehall, central banks and investment banks.
    The actual mechanics and strategy involved in governing is far too important to leave up to bodies elected on outward appearance. So the faces change but the administration behind stays the same.

  • Katyusha

    Certainly, in my line of work (engineering), some companies will operate a positive discrimination policy towards women. If there is a choice between two candidates at interview, gender will tip the scales in the woman’s favour. It’s part of an effort to try and address the low numbers of women who choose a career in technical fields.

    It’s a well-meaning policy, but I have to oppose it for a very simple reason: a lot of the female engineers I’ve met are incredible. They earned and maintained their positions by sheer energy and brilliance.They have no need for a positive discrimination strategy: in fact it is demeaning to suggest that they should be beholden to a lower standard than their male counterparts. Anyone worth their salt can compete on equal terms and should be expected to do so. There is zero need to apply gender quotas as long as the system is meritocratic.

    As Constance Markievicz put it, when a chauvanistic judge spared her life because she was female, “I do wish you would have the common decency to just shoot me.” Trying to apply some kind of merit in awarding positions to women based on their gender is demeaning and devalues the efforts of those who had to work for their position. Gender should not factor into that equation at all.

  • CB Belfast

    But the system is not meritocratic and if it wasn’t for these policies then discrimination against women would continue.

    Recruitment is only the tip of the iceberg. Within engineering there is a huge gender pay gap. Can you explain why that exists if the system, as you claim, is meritocratic?

  • Ernekid

    Isn’t the underlying issue with both politics and to use your example of engineering is that many talented women are put off from considering entering into the field due to male dominated macho culture within?

    There needs to be a change in attitudes within politics (and engineering and other fields) so more young females are attracted to joining. One way of making that shift in attitudes is by using gender quotas.

  • Pete

    I think men and women should be treated equally, ie, no unfair bias or discrimination in favour of either gender. Gender simply is not relevant, in my opinion.

  • Pete

    So we need gender quotas for men in teaching and nursing, then?

  • Pete

    Pay gap is largely explained by lifestyle choices.

  • DOUG

    Forgive me if I misunderstand here, but I don’t see how you are in fact applying a lower standard than with their male counterparts.
    In the circumstances you describe, the female candidate is equally as qualified as the male and it is at this point that gender quotas are applicable – ie everything else being equal historical imbalance will be redressed.( or that’s the theory )
    Or are you saying that regardless of demonstrated ability, the female candidate will be offered the position?

  • CB Belfast

    I’ll just leave this comment to speak for itself…

  • CB Belfast

    Sure. If there’s evidence of historic discrimination against men entering those professions, then of course there should be.

  • Pete

    Oh I would completely oppose such quotas. If more women want to be nurses than men, then I think that’s fine. Quotas would be discriminatory against women in that context (just like all-women shortlists in politics discriminate against men).

  • Pete

    Women are much more likely to take career breaks and work part-time than men. Of course that will affect earnings. If they are putting in less input (on average) then they’ll get less output.

    Young women actually earn more than young men.

    If you control for confounding variables, the gender pay gap essentially disappears.

  • Korhomme

    What makes a great leader? Someone who is inspirational, who changes things through rhetoric and action?

    So that we can say so-and-so was a great leader, look what s/he achieved.

    What then of the person who leads from behind, so that, when looking at achievements, people say ‘we did it ourselves’ rather than ‘so-and-so did it’?

  • CB Belfast

    Reference for young women earning more than men? Pretty sure major IEF study just found the opposite.

  • Pete

    What about all-women shortlists in politics? That doesn’t even let men be considered!

  • Msiegnaro

    There is no call for gender quotas in society today especially when in many firms females hold the upper hand.

  • Msiegnaro

    Male, white and Protestant are apparently the worst things to be at present.

  • Msiegnaro

    Stop using facts and common sense Pete, lets try to stick to quotas and discrimination.

  • DOUG

    Well, I’m actually asking Katyusha about the specific example given there within a named profession.
    As for all women shortlists, I’m not a fan.
    I think they have yielded good results and can understand why some people think them necessary. But from a democratic standpoint, they just don’t sit comfortably with me.
    Openly encourage the excluded by all means but not to then create another group of excluded.
    I have no issue with positive discrimination as means of redress, but I remain very much in the all things being equal camp.

  • Msiegnaro

    Unlikely, women get everything their own way nowadays.

  • DOUG

    Suppose it depends where you are in the world doesn’t it?

  • Msiegnaro

    Lets just stick with the UK for now.

  • Katyusha

    The pay gap exists for two reasons.

    1) Men are more likely to confront their employer to ensure they are paid what they deserve. Sadly we still live in a world where employers would prefer to pay their employees the minumum that they can get away with, rather than the true market value for their skills and ability.

    2) There are fewer women in senior positions.
    The question is never asked whether everyone actually wants to work in senior management. Not everyone wants to climb the corporate ladder nor has a desire to hold power over others. I know I have no desire to, and that my own mother turned down the opportunity of a senior position to spend more time with us when we were younger. The sociopath who spends his time plotting how to climb the corporate ladder and get one over on his rivals, while he neglects his own family, is not a model to aspire to.

    I am not saying the system is meritocratic; I am saying it should be meritocratic.
    The actual technical side of engineering is extremely meritocratic due to the acute skills shortage in the sector. Anyone who has sufficient talent and skill will not face any other barriers in being hired in a technical role.
    However, promotion in the UK is seen as moving into management, away from technical/scientific work, and the people most able to work their way into new positions where they can hold power over others are sociopaths and narcissists. This is unfortuanately an outworking of our corporate culture. I suspect that in the UK it has its roots in the entrenchment of the class system.
    What we need to do is pay people what they actually deserve rather than what they can negotiate, and place more emphasis on skills and productivity instead of management. And attract more women to study engineering and the sciences in the first place.
    The gender pay gap is a consequence of the deep dysfunctionality of our corporate culture. It runs deeper than just sexism, and positive discrimination is not going to address the root causes of this. What we need is a true meritocracy.

  • DOUG

    Why, we’re all part of the continent these days, aren’t we?

  • Msiegnaro

    A little bit more respect, should men help other men in their profession rise?

  • Msiegnaro

    Yes, it’s great being in the EU so many benefits :/

  • DOUG

    So far I’ve no complaints.

  • CB Belfast

    He hasn’t quoted any facts.

  • Msiegnaro

    I’m glad for you.

  • CB Belfast

    Oh brother…

  • Msiegnaro

    You just were unable to combat them.

  • DOUG

    Thank you.
    I appreciate that.
    I think that too often there’s enmity and almost personal vitriol on these pages.
    It’s nice that despite disagreeing with my perspective you can appreciate that I’m genuinely happy with my lot.

  • Msiegnaro

    Just get the 32 together and you’ll be ecstatic.

  • DOUG

    I’m not in any hurry.
    I have a decent with a company who value me.
    A wife I love and who tolerates me back.
    My first child on the way.
    A house I worked hard for.
    I’m relatively financially comfortable ( until the child comes along anyway ).
    The 32 doesn’t register on my list of priorities.
    As I say, I’m happy with my life.

  • Katyusha

    “the female candidate is equally as qualified as the male and it is at this point that gender quotas are applicable – ie everything else being equal historical imbalance will be redressed”

    That is how psoitive discrimination is supposed to be applied, and how it is supposed to work. But why do we need to address historical imbalance? It only matters that there is a level playing field right now. Trying to engineer diversity ratios everywhere is a fallacy, which does not address the underlying issues.
    For example, would encouraging positive discrimination to hire more black males into professional careers address the underlying issue of low educational attainment among black schoolchildren?
    The second scenario is what you would get with gender quotas or all-women shortlists, something which gets a lot of commentary but I have never seen applied. And I do find these ideas to be demeaning towards women who have the talent and ability to forge their own career. Its condescending to assume that these women need men or society as a whole to lend them a helping hand.

  • DOUG

    “would encouraging positive discrimination to hire more black males into professional careers address the underlying issue of low educational attainment among black schoolchildren?”

    I genuinely don’t know. I do think if a community reinforces the importance of education that has a long term effect. I also think role models are a big part in that reinforcement. Anecdotal / opinion only, I realize.

  • Pete

    I have quoted facts. I’m on my phone now and am too technologically incompetent to post links. Certainly women being more likely to work part time and take career breaks is a fact.

    One cannot have their cake and eat it. Let’s take a similar example: women get better public examination grades than men. Is that discrimination? No, it’s probably because women work harder for their A Levels.

    Men earn more money, on average, than women. Is that discrimination? No, they work longer hours, tend to prioritise their career more.

    In both of these examples, more effort results in more reward. That is fair. If one were to call for equal outcome without equal effort, that would not be fair.

  • Katyusha

    I can’t say I’ve ever experienced a “macho culture” in my line of work, nor have I had any of my female colleagues complain that the profession is overwhelmingly staffed by men. Most likely because it has zero impact on their day-to-day work. So I can’t say it is a problem from within; maybe you can only see it from the outside?
    It is male dominated, but only because so few women pursue engineering at degree level. It’s difficult to see how you would obtain a 50/50 makeup in technical roles when only 12% of engineering graduates are female. The only way this is going to be addressed is if more girls decide to study sciences at A-Level and go on to obtain engineering degrees. We need to place more emphasis on the sciences and promote it as a career path. The main problem of the engineering sector is that it is has a lot of ill-deserved stereotypes to fight.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Msiegnaro, is everyone who isn’t in full agreement with you a united irelander? Or do you just have a bad habit of jumping to absurdly unevidenced conclusions about anyone whose opinions vary from yours? Can’t you see how silly you make yourself look?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Interesting poser. I think Hitler’s assumed title of Fuhrer (driver) was intended to convey the sense of motivator of the Deutschevolk to their inevitable destiny. In reality his role was pretty different and he was never one to hide from the limelight.
    A facilitator/enabler role is not really one for a party leader particularly if they are appointed by their predecessor as opposed to elected internally. The facilitator/enabler works best in voluntary sector and educational roles where self ‘actualisation’ (for want of a better term) is one of the objectives of the role. Many therapists work along similar lines.

    Success is measured differently in such credit free work but a politician, particularly a party leader has to think about leading his/her party into the next election.

  • Katyusha

    ” I do think if a community reinforces the importance of education that has a long term effect.”
    Well, agreed. But ceratinaly, in the case of NI, I’d argue that the reverse effect w.r.t positive discrimiantion and education happened. Discrimination in employment meant that as a Catholic you couldn’t just leave school and find a job for life in one of Belfast’s industrial companies, because those doors were closed. You had to study and gain qualifications if you were to get anywhere, and our parents and grandparents knew that. So there was alway a big focus on education, as there often is among minority communities. It’s no accident that the top Grammar schools in NI are Catholic, and educational attainment is low in working-class Protestant areas which lacked the culture of needing an education.
    Not that I’d advocate the culture of discrimination here for a second, but the work ethic of what is now erroneously called the “Catholic middle classes” was born of a need to fight and struggle against the system. Role models are great, but this stuff starts with parents and teachers.

    Apologies for veering well off-topic.

  • Ciaran O’Connor

    “A little bit more respect … women get everything their own way nowadays.”

    OK then…

  • Pete

    “In April to June 2013, looking at the not seasonally adjusted series, around 13.4 million women aged 16 to 64 were in work (42% part-time) and 15.3 million men (12% part-time). For those who worked full-time there were differences in the average hours worked per week. For example, full-time men worked on average 44 hours per week whilst full-time women worked 40 hours per week.”

    Source: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105160709/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_328352.pdf

    If men are working harder, it is entirely fair for them to be earning more.

    Using your logic of giving the same outcome to people regardless of their input, we should be locking up equal numbers of men and women, despite the fact that men commit far more crimes.

  • doopa

    Define many.

  • Msiegnaro

    Lets look at legal and financial services.

  • doopa

    So…. Many equals 2. OK.

  • Neil

    Why won’t someone think of the white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant male?!

    Hahaha that’s awesome. Made my day.

  • Hi Gladys, thanks for this posting. I saw you working at the event; how did you manage to write this up too? FWIW I also wrote up an article: https://mrulster.org/2016/05/25/transformation-through-collaboration-foster/

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    You’d probably have to break the differing engineering fields down to get a more clear picture regarding this.

    For example, i’m not sure what percentage of British engineering is made up of oil and gas and drilling but i imagine it’s enough to be reflected in national wages (certainly Aberdeenshire has a lot of millionaires on account of this).

    In this sector a female could rise to senior levels after ‘field service’.

    Field service can involve offshore rigs, with shared dorms and occasionally shared shower rooms.

    It can also involve working in third world countries in awful conditions.

    If few woman partake in field service then few women will be in senior or well paid positions.
    The companies I worked for would have seemed extraordinarily biased in terms of wages but this is simply because there were more women in the admin roles and many many more men in hands on roles out in the middle of the north sea or desert.
    That could explain some of it (though this is less noticeable in Norway where the rigs are nicer and have a higher level of automation).

    As for other engineering fields, well, i don’t know, we’d have to break them down one by one.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    A more accurate translation of führer might be “guide”, Ben, a word that more accurately conveys the quasi religious nature of how the wee Austrian saw his role. But hey, I agree with everything you’re saying. It would be interesting though if we were able to develop a political culture of facilitation for our community instead of this old Hegelian Master/slave model of patriarchal dominance and control which Thatcher’s baleful example appears to have rendered “à la mode” for women in politics.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    ‘führen’ is to lead. To drive is ‘fahren’, different verb. The usual translation of Führer is ‘leader’. I suppose it has a dynamic quality to it (but then so does ‘leader’ for that matter). It’s not a word reserved for Hitler, it’s an everyday German word still very much in use for group leaders etc. I knew those years slaving over Schiller would come in handy one day 🙂

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed it is an everyday German word, MU, to be found on the cover of all those “guides” to historic buildings etc. My own understanding of German is that the word implies guidance or benign direction, and although German grammer will often suggets to English speakers a directive abruptness with all those endless clauses only making sense with the concluding verb’s “full stop” giving us a final meaning!! But I’d still suggest that the subilty of “guide” in the sense of “Guru” is quite strongly there in its contemporary usage during the 1930s well outside Savatri Deva’s limited circle of esoteric believers:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savitri_Devi

    While it may be the more usual English translation, simply saying “leader” abstracts and simplifies the word’s actual meaning in context and suggests something far less frighteningly intimate and intrusive.

    But perhaps the injunction of Bob Dylan “don’t follow leaders” (or Gurus) struck well home in my teens. I’m frequently told I have the customary Ulsterman’s (oh dear that weasel word, perhaps my early Monaghan connections might qualify its use here) contrarian rection to anyone suggesting that I need some “leadership” in my life, the two faces of Marlene certainly included. And using Thatcher as a lure is very unlikely to work for those of us who remember her in her destructive heyday, certainly it fails to inspire me with any confidance in the “Norn Iron” lady.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    yes it can mean ‘guide’ also, though I think it still has a sense of the guide being somewhat ahead of you, rather than by your side. But yes, certainly not as scary a word in German as its use by Hitler would suggest.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And in general childcare.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Ahead”….yes……hence my implying “Guru”!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Under whose tenure did the peace process start?”

    Gladstone, and a pity that some of us up north have been muffing it ever since!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Gender unfairness though is a massive political and social issue

  • MainlandUlsterman

    If you focus only on the policy and ability of the individuals who do make it forward, you miss the problem of how few women are coming forward to even make it to that level. You have to look at the bigger picture of what role women ought to have in politics and society. And that would be an equal one to that of men. I don’t see politics reflecting that, Foster notwithstanding.

  • Msiegnaro

    I think it is trivial and a non event, I have seen no example of females facing any form of discrimination and in fact they are well catered for in many branches of employment.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Hmm – you may be missing quite a lot in that case.
    https://www.tuc.org.uk/equality-issues/gender-pay-gap-uk’s-top-earners-hits-55-says-tuc
    The gender pay gap is not all about discrimination, it’s also about other ways in which the structure of employment disadvantages women. But even when you take other factors out, women appear to be paid less on average for doing similar work.

  • Msiegnaro

    They also take career breaks to have children and due to stress so we’re not doing too badly by them.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    So women are more prone to stress??? If you are acknowledging that there are gender differences (in terms of experience and the nature of reaction to same), what other differences might be evident? Try exploring research rather than giving a gut felt response.
    Bemoaning changes in society as you perceive them is not going to bring back any utopian past whether delusional, dystopic, idealised or otherwise.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    “we”? Men running things then?

  • Msiegnaro

    I don’t believe women are good decision makers, they’re a bit too whiney and prone to stress who can never see the bigger picture as they’re too focused on the minute and irrelevant.

  • Msiegnaro

    We have a female First Minister for better or worse.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Limited lived experience remains limited and therefore unrepresentative. Inevitably, lived experience incorporates challenges to prejudices on a daily basis and allows for new ways of adjusting to the world around us as it changes. Evidence based research provides a similar function. However, if the nett result for some individuals is only to retreat away from the world and deny a wider reality simply because it is unpalatable then the outcome is just resentful maladjustment.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    But, in her espousal of Thatcher as a model, one who obviously thinks that the masculine leadership style should efface any hint of that empathy that femininity implies.

  • Msiegnaro

    How does a feminine leadership style work?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    You must have encountered a quite different species to the women in my own social circle Msiegnaro. They habitually accuse me of being the one “a bit too whiney and prone to stress who can never see the bigger picture as they’re too focused on the minute and irrelevant.”

    Fair enough, I suppose!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    We are in such a male centred meritocracy that one seldom encounters it, but a number of Woman ministers I know, and certainly quite a few women academics suggest how it should enrich us all with the gift of a more nuanced balanced approach to authority. But the very stricture of commercial business and politics encourages those masculine characteristics of abstraction and inability to delegate that counter the empathic qualities that intelligent women can bring to power.

    It will be clear that we are not talking the late Lady “Attilla the Hen” here, although our own dear “Queen” (still to far down the line of true succession to my mind to loose those inverted commas) shows considerable skill and sensitivity in her very disempowered role. I cannot help thinking she’d probably make a better fist of actual governance than anyone “down the road” since MacMillan.

  • Msiegnaro

    That sounds to me like there will be gossiping, bitching and bitchiness. Not what I want.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Bless you. M, not my experience of devolving issues of control to women working alongside me in my media career! Very smoothly run ship, I’d found, without all that male ego and confrontation and the general male inability to admit ignorance of things and ask really needed questions in order to get things done. Co-operation rather than a lot of crass social Darwininism playing out during the decision making process. Certainly a very different experience of managerial technique.

  • Msiegnaro

    That’s a very sexist and stereotypical view on men Seaan. I have found females to be very poor in the work place in general and generally there to fill a quota.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh dear M, did you not spot the contradiction in your response? Did you really say “sexist and stereotypical” after your own posting critiquing women above? Really?

    No quota as far as I was concerned, my need was for innovative ideas, creativity, and above all no time wasting stresses through those power struggles that always, always blighted the all male work teams in my business. I can only speak from my experience in my own field, but from what I see of most elective assembles, my assessment seems to hold good with regard to those.

  • Msiegnaro

    We obviously come from different fields. I can’t really think of any good female role models to be honest.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No harm in “coming from different fields”, M! Diversity is after all the very lifeblood of honest change.

  • Reader

    Gladstone rather than James II? I’m surprised.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Praise where praise is due, and Gladstone’s was certainly the most sensible path out of the quagmire, Reader. I was thinking about the current “peace process” of course, now wending its dreary way into a second century. Of course had the Dutchman been driven from our shores, we would not have had a conflict that would have required any resolution. (Thank you for the “straight man” feed here, incidentally, much obliged).

    Mind you I cannot but help, hearing myself, but remember the response to my late stepfather’s impatient quip to someone he felt was still sunk deep in Victorianism. “You do realise Queen Victoria is long dead, do you not?” he said. The dry response ‘sotto voce’, “Poor Albert……..”