Female Contestants on The Apprentice Are Not Reality
7 November 2017
The recent series of The Apprentice and, in fact, many before it, have thrown up one very negative stereotype: That businesswomen cannot work together without it descending into a shrieking catfight. They all talk over each other, speak negatively about each other’s achievements, and generally set the image of what a successful modern businesswoman is back by about fifty years.
It’s such a shame to see all of the hard-working and motivated women I know be represented to the nation by this gaggle of cackling backstabbers. My experience, and certainly the experience of many others I know, is that women go all out to help each other because, very often, we are on the backfoot in a business environment.
It has taken us decades to get to the stage we are at – and there is still a truly appalling gender pay gap – so I have no idea why these reality TV candidates think it is a good idea to conduct themselves in such a way. Ideas meetings, sales pitches and boardroom discussions have all descended into chaos. There is shrieking, finger pointing, mud slinging and, most importantly, no one is listening to what anyone else has to say.
Their behaviour almost makes you want to hide behind the cushions whilst you watch. It’s so ridiculous. My own Professional Services team is a group of ambitious, hard-working and experienced women. We always go out of our way to give each other a helping hand so that no one falls behind or is left feeling uncertain about the task at hand. For me, that’s what it’s all about. Women empowering other women; championing each other and our achievements on a daily basis.
All the negative attributes displayed on the show, such as back stabbing, shouting, shrieking, constantly talking and lacking any signs of business savvy, only serve to completely undermine the daily achievements of women in various industries up and down the country. No wonder Karren Brady spends so much time looking appalled at these candidates.
When I think of “women in business”, I think of strong-willed entrepreneurs such as John Lewis’ Paula Nickolds, Mediacom’s Lisa Humphreys and Kingfisher’s Veronique Laury. These women are all shining examples of how genuine hard work and loyalty will enable you to achieve your potential and rise to the top. That is the “stereotype” we should be focusing on.
Since so many industries are struggling to attract women, we need to be displaying as many good examples and role models as we can in order to diversify our workforces. Young women, in particular, need to see that helping each other, not shouting over one another, is the key to building several more female success stories. I can only hope that any decision makers watching The Apprentice aren’t put off because of the terrible show of behaviour.
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Written By Jackie MacGregor