Back when I and the world were young I swapped a shirt with an attractive young woman from the USA eight. It was bright green and, if my memory serves correctly, the slogan in white on the front was “Smith College 100 years of women on top!”
I wore the shirt till it wore out. It came to mind today as I read an article on the NZ news site Stuff. The article, reprinted from the obscure Taranaki Daily News was a report of a presentation by the high profile Beth Brooke.
Brooke is a Global Vice Chair on the board of Ernst and Young. While she has been in New Zealand she spoke at a seminar and spoke about issues relating to the employment of women at high levels. The line that caught my eye and is, I think, relevant to this blog is “…80 per cent of top businesswomen had played team sports.” The data come from an impressive sounding survey run in the USA.
Now, it has long been accepted that successful participation in team sports fits young men for positions of importance and with high remuneration. It is well known that the Boat Race for instance can help as a stepping stone to jobs in the City of London. Anecdotally it is certainly believed that Ivy League graduates who have rowed are extremely employable and successful. This article on the Bloomberg site supports the argument.
Now if women are saying that team sports help women to succeed in business then maybe all the angst that we went through in the seventies about whether to let women join our male only rowing clubs was worthwhile. The record of our male business leaders on the important things like fairness and environmental concern hasn’t been great; maybe, just maybe, the new generation of sport assisted women can do better.
Ps. I Googled the shirt slogan and there is one for sale on ebay!