The CMI report showed that Nelson Mandela and Richard Branson topped the list of inspirational figures in the public eye, followed by Steve Jobs, John Harvey-Jones and Tony Blair.
‘The Power of Role Models’ report showed women are less likely than men to aspire to top jobs and looking ahead to 2025, just 25 per cent of women want to be in board-level position, compared to a third of men.
The CMI suggested patriarchal stereotypes still held by some men may be in part to blame. Women polled were 22 per cent more likely to disagree that males make better role models while men were three times as likely to be influenced by their dads as their moms.
Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, said: “We need a role model revolution. It’s time to redefine and rejuvenate what we think of as an inspiring person. While many of those named in the top ten have achieved amazing things in their lifetimes, they aren’t necessarily relevant role models who can inspire workers on a practical level in their everyday lives. Shouldn’t we be looking to today’s business leaders like Charlie Mayfield and Richard Reed over John Harvey-Jones? And where are female role models such as Karren Brady and Martha Lane Fox?
“Without accessible, inspiring women highlighted in the public eye, it’s no surprise we’re lacking a pipeline of talented women aiming for top jobs. Women are opting not to go for these roles because they’re put off by business cultures, and wider social attitudes, that are still predominantly geared to making men successful but alienate women. If men in our workplaces are inherently biased towards taking their lead from the men in their lives rather than the women, it’s unlikely they’re championing and nurturing their female and male employees equally.”
Minister for women and equalities Jenny Willott MP, said: “The results of CMI’s survey shine a spotlight on the lack of female role models. Yet we know there are exceptional women out there whose achievements and approach to life could help guide other women to realise their full potential.u2028 u2028″We should be encouraging more women to become role models by sharing lessons about how they got where they are and how other women can succeed in the workplace. We want more inclusive workplaces where women are encouraged and supported to achieve the very best they can – this work is crucial if we are to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.”
Margaret Thatcher and Mother Teresa were the only women named within the top ten role models, listed below.
- Richard Branson
- Nelson Mandela
- Margaret Thatcher
- Alan Sugar
- Barack Obama
- Steve Jobs
- Bill Gates
- Mother Teresa
- Tony Blair
- John Harvey-Jones
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