What is holding women back in the workplace? If you ask
Kevin Roberts, the outgoing Saatchi & Saatchi chairman, the
problem is women themselves. “Their ambition is not a
vertical ambition, it ’s this intrinsic, circular ambition to
be happy, ” he said last week in an interview with Business
Insider. A few days later, having been suspended by parent
company Publicis, he admitted that he had “failed
exceptionally fast ” and announced he would resign.
职场中有哪些因素防碍着女性发展？如果你问盛世长城 (Saatchi &
Saatchi) 即将离任的董事长凯文罗伯茨 (Kevin Roberts) ，他会回答问
内在、绕圈的追求，”他在近期接受《商业内幕》 (Business Insider)
采访时表示。几天后，被母公司法国阳狮集团 (Publicis) 停职的他承
It is superficially appealing to cast Mr Roberts as the
victim of a feminist witch hunt. Surely he is a martyr who
dared to speak the truth ： that for many women it is the
desire to have a work-life balance, rather than
discrimination, that stops them reaching the top of their
But his comments went far beyond that. He denied that gender
inequality was a problem at all — “the f***ing debate is
all over ” — and accused British advertising consultant
Cindy Gallop of lying about sexual harassment in the industry.
“I think she ’s got problems that are of her own making, ”
he claimed. “I think she ’s making up a lot o f the stuff to
create a profile, and to take applause. ”
顾问辛迪盖洛普 (Cindy Gallop) 在该行业性骚扰问题上撒谎。“我觉
Under such circumstances, it is unsurprising that Publicis
moved against him ： an advertising firm should know a bad
advert for its business when it sees one. Sadiq Khan, mayor
or London, has banned “body shaming ” posters on the
capital ’s transport system; Unilever has pledged to spend
its ￡6.3bn annual marketing budget on ads that smash female
stereotypes. Sex might still sell but sexism is out of
看出对自身业务不利的广告。伦敦市长萨迪克汗 (Sadiq Khan) 禁止在
首都的交通系统内张贴“体形歧视”海报；联合利华 (Unilever) 承诺
将该公司 63 亿英镑的年度营销预算用于打破女性刻板印象的广告。性
For outsiders, however, an honest conversation is always
more useful than knee- jerk condemnation. Mr Roberts ’
comments are a reminder of three roadblocks on the path to
gender equality at work ： outdated attitudes; unhelpful
structures; and a lack of data — a result of the casual
dismissal of women ’s experiences.
罗伯茨的言论提醒了人们，在通往职场性别平等的道路上有 3 个障碍：
First, it is time to overhaul our idea of a perfect employee.
There is little evidence to support the assumption that macho
work-aholics are the most valuable people in a company.
Second, we have to smash the artificial division between a
woman’s choice to opt out of the rat race and “real ”
discrimination. Our decisions are shaped by the unequal
structures of the working environment.
Once a woman has taken time off work for childbirth and
breastfeeding, a pattern is created where she is seen as the
“primary ” parent. Many hoped the introduction of shared
parental leave would change that; but so far UK take-up rates
have been very low. (Unlike the Scandinavian model, there is
no portion which can only be taken by fathers.)
The “maternity gap ” is the most fundamental structural
problem preventing gender equality in the workplace. Among
full-time British workers aged 22-29, women earn more than
men. At the age where women can work as flexibly, and put in
the same long hours as their male peers, they do not fall
behind. The pay gap opens up when children arrive — and then
never closes again.
Very few firms “enhance” statutory paternity pay, so men
are understandably reluctant to take the drop in status and
income that staying at home entails. There is a very good
reason for a woman to return to work after having a baby ： an
income of her own and the independence that brings. Where is
the matching incentive for men to undertake more unpaid
caring labour that takes them out of the workplace?
Encouraging men to take shared parental leave, to work part
time, or even to leave at 6pm to read a bedtime story, would
对应的激励吗？鼓励男性申请共享产假、做兼职、甚至 6 点下班回家
Finally, we must listen when women talk about the
experiences that have held them back. Overt discrimination of
the “dumb blondes can ’t fly planes ” school is diminishing,
but sexual harassment at work is widespread. It is not
something women make up “to create a profile ”. A glance
around boardrooms and corner offices shows there is no
monstrous regiment of women borne to the top on a wave of
allegations against colleagues. Like other whistleblowers,
women who accuse their bosses of sexual harassment often end
up sidelined or forced out while the accused is protected.
Gretchen Carlson, the US television presenter, was initially
painted as a washed-up gold-digger when she filed a sexual
harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, the Fox News boss.
Then the dam burst ： another 20 women came forward with
similar accusations. Mr Ailes, who denies the claims, soon
left the company, with a $40m exit package.
则会受到保护。当美国电视主持人格蕾琴卡尔森 (Gretchen Carlson)
发起针对福克斯新闻 (Fox News) 老板罗杰艾尔斯 (Roger Ailes) 的性骚
None of this is a reason for despair, particularly since
bright minds in business and academia are focused on the
problem. Sometimes the suggested solutions are small ： Anne-
Marie Slaughter ’s Unfinished Business warns against “halo
dad” syndrome, where fathers are praised for simple
childcare tasks in a way that reinforces assumptions that men
are useless at taking care of others.
这个问题。有时解决建议是细枝末节的：安妮 - 玛丽斯劳特 (Anne-
Marie Slaughter) 在其著作《未竟之业》 (Unfinished Business) 中对
What Works by Professor Iris Bohnet of Harvard University
offers practical suggestions for reducing bias in hiring,
pointing out, for example, that blind auditions increased the
number of female musicians in orchestras.
哈佛大学(Harvard University) 的教授艾里斯博内特 (Iris Bohnet)
Gender inequality at work is a big challenge but not
insoluble. And as more researchers come up with hard data,
and more women feel able to speak about their experiences,
the debate is far from “all over ”. In fact, it is ju st