A few weeks ago junior minister Jan Lynch, in the Irish Examiner, gave her opinion that while women might not have all the answers “it’s the awkward woman in the corner asking the awkward question that usually makes others stop and think before they make particular decisions”. Her comments came in light of new figures on gender representation in the Dail which show that most departments have failed to reach their 40% target. I have to say her comments annoyed me. Fine we need more women at board level to give their perspective and opinion. Please though, don’t suggest that you have to be awkward as a woman to succeed. There are enough labels around this issue as it is, that particular one won’t help greatly. I have sat across a boardroom table where both men and women asked the ‘awkward’ questions and neither made it to the top. There’s more to it than that. To succeed you make choices. To succeed in business as a woman and a mother you make very difficult choices .  Men and women are different. Business culture currently suits the male exec. Introducing strategies to inspire more women to climb the ladder might be more advantageous than finding the ‘awkward’ one.

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