Fringe Box



Men Versus Women (Again) – In The Workplace

Published on: 19 Sep, 2013
Updated on: 23 Sep, 2013
Claire Dee

Claire Dee.

In this regular column – a must read for all those interested in Guildford business – Claire Dee discusses why men versus women in the workplace it still up for debate.

Here we go again. It’s September, everyone is back to work following the summer break (at least we saw the sun this year) with big plans for the next few months; budgets, strategies, appraisals, recruitment…

The events and conference calendar is also filling up, and in the past couple of weeks I have received several emails and invites with a common theme: men versus women and the workplace.

Online trade publication Accountancy Age announced its latest debate – ‘Mandatory targets are essential to place more women into senior roles’. Acknowledging that just 17% of the FTSE 100 board roles are held by females, and even the most progressive accounting firms have admitted that bringing through more female partners is still problematic.

And Surrey Chambers of Commerce Business Women in Surrey (of which I am co-chair), ran its own court room-style challenge at the Mandolay Hotel here in Guildford under the banner of ‘Men and women: Different but equal?’

As interesting as the session proved to be, the comment which stuck most in my mind (or throat) is one made by guest speaker Leigh Lafever-Ayer, HR director at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, who questioned why we are still having this debate in 2013.

I couldn’t agree more. Obviously, men and women are different, but in the workplace they should be considered equal if the work they are doing is the same.

Why should a female director on a management board be given less responsibility or pay than a male peer simply because of her gender? It should be equal rights for equal roles regardless of gender, race, class, and so on. And the fact men and women are different is what makes them equal as they bring different qualities and skillsets to the table.

Either way, and whatever your view, let’s hope the need for such discussions becomes obsolete in the not too distant future.

Claire Dee runs her own communications consultancy near Guildford and is an active member of the local business community including sitting on the Surrey Chambers of Commerce Council.  To learn more visit

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