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The ‘he-cession’ sees women boosting skills to break glass ceiling


Women are increasingly using the recession as an opportunity to improve their business skills in a bid to break through the glass ceiling, new research suggests.
Despite the downturn taking a heavier toll on men than it is on women, research gathered by IT training company Indicia Training has reported a 54% increase in the number of women turning to business skills training since this time last year.
It was previously feared that this recession would have a worse impact on women than on men. But recent statistics suggest otherwise - the number of men in work has fallen by 3%, while the number of women by just 0.8%.
Indicia Training’s general manager and HR director, Howard Teale, believes female business owners are especially keen not to be seen as victims. “More than 80% of job losses in America and Europe have fallen on men, with some bloggers nicknaming this the 'he-cession'. Women are demonstrating a stronger commitment to training for both personal and professional security. With a higher number of women in the workplace than previous recessions, more women are on their own or have become the breadwinners of the family and the burden to bring income into the home lies with them," he said.
And the pay gap between men and women has fallen in the past year, albeit by just 1%, as full-time women workers' pay rose by 3.4%. But there still remains a huge 16.4% gap between men and women’s pay.
With women accounting for only 9% of directors in the UK's top 100 companies, 23% of Civil Service top management and 20% of MPs, Teale believes this recession could provide the ideal opportunity for female workers to break through the glass ceiling. “With more women turning to training than their male counterparts, it would suggest that when the upturn comes, it will be females that will be in the best position to capatilise on the opportunities. This could be the break that women need to finally shatter the glass ceiling," added Teale.
Earlier this year, cabinet ministers called on the prime minister to “give greater focus” to women within government spending, fearing it would be women who would bear the brunt of the recession. Many ministers feared the government’s recession package was too masculine. And it seems to have worked. A recent report by the Women’s Enterprise Task Force found women appeared to have more positive attitudes towards the downturn than men with 50% of women say the macroeconomic climate is a big challenge for growth compared with 66% of men.
Teale believes that since the banking crisis, business leaders have realised the aggressive, risk-seeking behaviour that enabled men to impose their power has now proven destructive. Many have voiced the opinion that it wouldn’t have happened had women been in charge.
One of the UK’s most successful female entrepreneurs, Dr Marilyn Orcharton, who founded the UK’s leading dental health plan Denplan which was sold for £40 million, said that if women had been in charge, “they would have made sure it was a good business with a good profit for the shareholders and they wouldn’t have been carried away with this great aim for owning the world.”
“Men want to run business empires. With RBS, you wouldn’t have had a female manager buying banks all over the world. Like most women, I didn’t want to run a business empire. All I wanted to do was to make some changes.
“In business when you’re buying and selling and wheeling and dealing, men aren’t comfortable dealing with women, they prefer to deal with men.”

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