When the chips are down…

The Apprentice. I shall try not to make a habit of commenting TV programmes. Last night, however, was the stuff of which several long and tedious pub conversations are likely to be born.

The teams were split along pure gender lines. So there was a boys’ team and a girls’ team. The task? Each had a list of items to acquire and a limited time in which to obtain those things.

The winner would be the team that brought items back at least cost, with serious cost penalties for every item that the team failed to find.

So. The girls’ team stodd back from the task. They planned for a little bit,. Then they went out and rounded up the items one by one. Chicken feet? Check. Computer chips? Yep. White truffles? Absolutely.

The boys, meanwhile, just launched into the task, little planning, very little obvious thought.

Back in the boardroom, the girls were confident. At the end of the day, they’d found all their items, knocked the vendors down by a few pounds each time: it looked like they were on to a winner.

The boys had failed to find several of the items.

Then the result. One of those rare surprises that the series throws up from time to time. For despite the lack of planning, the haphazard approach, the bumbling and the massive cost penalties for failing to bring in a third of the items…the boys had actually won.

How? Because when it came to the actual buying, they drove a very very hard bargain. No shame. With the result that when they did buy items, it was often at half the price that the girls paid.

Oh my! It certainly plays to the gender stereotype. Quizzed by Sir Alan about their performance, the girls talked about not wanting to seem too pushy.

On its own, it maybe doesn’t prove too much. It is reminiscent, however, of a session at Lady Fest a week or so back (which I still have to write up). During a workshop on Women in the Media, one of the questions from the floor was about whether to submit articles for free as a means to gain credit.

Most of the speakers were very against it. (I would tend to side with them).

Most intersting was Bidesha, who made the point very strongly that very often, women were their own worst enemy in the workplace: doing the work, putting in extra hours; and then being too embarrassed to do an Oliver – and ask for more.

Blokes, on the other hand, seemed to have far fewer qualms about doing so.

Well, it was just one episode in one series. But it does seem to back up a much deeper experience for many women much more widely.

Why? And how do women escape the trap they so politely set for themselves?



About janefae

On my way from here to there
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