Why is it that in a society overrun by greedy fat cats - where the Sir Fred Goodwins of this world continue to outrage with their business brutality, unreasonable demands and outrageous bonuses - there is not a single woman’s name in the rogues’ gallery?
Why is there not an equally hated Lady Freda Goodwin, Freda The Shred, riding roughshod over the poor workers, slashing costs and sacking staff? Because, ladies, we are not nasty enough.
In short, our commercial DNA is not wired for corporate success. And nowhere was that more graphically demonstrated than last week when the much-feted co-chairman of Gordon Brown’s Women’s Enterprise Task Force was successfully sued by one of her employees for bullying.
Dr Glenda Stone runs a successful recruitment website, Aurora, with her husband. So even this colossus of female business success, the woman chosen to front such a highprofile government body, co-runs her business with her spouse.
Not much of a triumph for feminism after all, is it?
And what’s more, by all accounts in the industrial tribunal, she was a terrible boss - overbearing, foulmouthed, petty, bullying, micromanaging-vindictive.
I know that type of female boss well, the Bully Boy Boss, who thinks they have to be nastier than the nastiest male boss to succeed. But more of them later.
Now, before the hate emails start pouring in from outraged feminists and female bosses, I have a special interest in this subject.
Not just because I’ve had the misfortune of having some of the most God-awful female bosses in the history of modern business, but because I was a boss myself, more than once.
I have edited two national newspapers, been the managing editor of one, the marketing director of two and the managing director of one national newspaper group.
As William Hague’s Press Secretary, I was boss to a team of press officers.
I have sat in the editor’s chair, the boardroom and the shadow cabinet. And while I can confidently say most of the people who worked for me liked me and respected me (I always thought of them working with me, but that’s such a girl thing), and, more importantly, worked well for me, I’m not sure I was always a good boss.
Believe it or not, I wasn’t tough enough. I had that classic female trait of being able to get the most out of people - it’s called nurturing now - but I also wanted to be liked, a fatal flaw in a boss.