Where are all the women?

We all know that women holding senior positions in the retail sector are an extremely rare breed. But the reality is that the retail industry is hardly unusual in having its most powerful roles held predominantly by men. This is a universal scenario that is common to all sectors.

This poor situation was brought home to me during the past couple of weeks when I saw two surveys completed in random trade magazines. The first was Restaurant magazine that held its annual and widely publicised ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ survey.

The big surprise was that a Danish restaurant Noma came top, while the least surprising aspect was that only two of these top 50 restaurants have female head chefs running the show.

But where are all the women?

The second example of women being in the back seat came with the publication in Mobile magazine of the ‘Mobile Power 50’. In this illustrious list of the UK mobile industry’s big hitters the grand total of women is, wait for it, one. This is Sally Cowdry at O2 and surprise, surprise she occupies the female-friendly role of marketing director.

These are just two examples of industry surveys and there are many more published each year across a plethora of sectors. And the only consistent factor in all of them is that women are merely bit-part players.