I agree with Martin Veitch here – I don’t care whether my boss is a man or a woman. All I care about is that they do their job properly. Polls like the recent one by womenintechnology.co.uk (which found people in IT prefer male bosses) are interesting, but most respondents (naturally enough) rely purely on personal experience. For me, all this does is expose people’s prejudices and give fuel to over-simplified generalisations.
I do think there’s something in Maggie Berry’s statement on why people (according to this particular poll) don’t like having female bosses in IT. Perhaps women who’ve had a long slog to the top don’t feel like being particularly gracious when they get there.
She says, “IT is such a male-dominated environment that many women who have reached management positions have had to fight hard to get there and maybe that fighting mentality is having a negative effect on their ability to lead. What we need is more support and training for women so more of them are able to reach the top and are well prepared for when they get there.”
But if that’s true – if it’s mainly the women who have a fighting mentality who manage to succeed in tech – then why do we have so many work-based stereotypes like women are good at listening, communication and collaboration? These are all stereotypes that I’ve never really seen much supporting evidence for, but they get wheeled out fairly often.
The fact is, no matter what the overall trends represented in polls appear to be, the qualities that make someone a good boss do not correlate with their gender. Anything that suggests otherwise does a disservice to women fighting hard to climb the ladder.