views

Don't let men pat you on the head

I WAS shocked recently by the article, &ldquo;IT Girl Grows Up&rdquo; where Tamara Beckwith was interviewed and calls her husband a chauvinist, lauding his statement: &ldquo;You are a woman, you do as you are told.&rdquo; She responds: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s quite nice actually for once to do as you are told.&rdquo; <br /><br />This is when I dream of Jeannie stuff the 1960s TV sitcom. &ldquo;Master this, and master that.&rdquo; Surely in the year 2009 that can&rsquo;t be put forth as anyone growing up.<br /><br />Compare this to Tamara Mellon &ndash; also from a dynasty, also born in London, who has created the tidy shoe empire Jimmy Choo.<br /><br />Why is this important? When men are freaked out by strong women, they take one of the following attack approaches: 1, they try to spin it that the woman is really weak; 2, they try to suggest they are responsible for the success; or 3, they get personal.<br /><br />Rare is the man so strong in his skin to be complimentary about a strong woman&rsquo;s track record.<br /><br /><strong>FRENCH CONNECTIONS</strong><br />Jacques Attali, the French adviser to President Francois Mitterrand in the 80s, recently decided to set the record straight 25 years after former British Prime Minister Lady Thatcher secured a historic concession and return of funds to the UK from the European Commission that in fact, far from being the Iron Lady, she wept and begged for mercy.<br /><br />Attali has waited until Thatcher as an 84 year woman can&rsquo;t defend herself anymore to deliver this punchline. He probably still winces at being outdone by a woman. <br /><br />This past weekend, the news that pre-nuptials are on their way to becoming legal hit the papers after the victory of Katrin Radmacher. Men and women both have the right to protect their wealth. <br /><br />Too many women consider finding a man as their ticket in life. This behaviour leads men to become cynical about womens&rsquo; goals with them.<br /><br />Whether a woman wants to build a family, an empire or something in between, growing up is the process of accepting that responsibility for oneself. I admire Beckwith for accepting responsibility for her teenage indiscretion. That takes enormous wisdom.<br /><br />Among non-British women in the UK, we wonder frequently where are the British female executives leading British businesses.<br /><br />For example, why was the London Stock Exchange run by a Dutch woman, and Pearson run by an American woman?<br /><br />There is a correlation between allowing men in our private lives to pat us on the head in the manner of Mad Men&rsquo;s leading character Don Draper, and ceding our power to execute our contribution in the world. <br /><br />It&rsquo;s not that misogyny is bad; it&rsquo;s that too many women are complicit with it. Sisters &ndash; let your strength loose on the world, and don&rsquo;t look back. <br /><br />Julie Meyer is chief executive of Ariadne Capital.