No gender monopoly on ‘male’ behaviour

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There is an understandable concern as you report (12 August) that senior management of banks is predominantly male and as a consequence exhibits “masculine” behaviour.

But simply having targets for more female board members won’t do the trick, unless banks (and other economic sectors) review the sort of attitudes and behaviour they expect from their staff, male and female.

It has been regularly observed that the qualities which large organisations seek in their senior managers are largely masculine: objectivity, logic and general “hard headedness”. These are not qualities exclusively belonging to men, but evidence suggests that more men than women possess them, and as men will be making the decisions on who to appoint, it’s more than likely that they will select women who seem to be most like this model.

We have all heard tales of women behaving (badly) like men – the late unlamented Thatcher was a good example.

The biggest bully I ever worked for was a female determined to outdo the men in a macho organisation with her “slash and burn” policies.

What is surely needed is not just more women on the board but more individuals who value collaboration and empathy.

In the same issue (Perspective), Jane Devine writes sensibly of the need to judge people not by their job title but what they have achieved in other ways, including child rearing. Maybe the banks should seek more of these people, men and women, on their boards.

(Dr) Mary Brown

Dalvenie Road

Banchory

The news that British banks will be legally obliged to have more women on their boards from next year, under new EU rules, is welcome, to me at least.

Females in senior leadership roles in our major financial institutions could not possibly do a worse job than their opposite sex – members of the old boys’ network, who, in recent years have managed to traduce Scotland’s reputation in this vital area of our economy, to say nothing of the job and investment losses that have affected tens of thousands of Scots.

Tom Minogue

Victoria Terrace

Dunfermline

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