The Revd Sally Hitchiner (above) was among those
who attended a debate on women in leadership, organised by the
think tank St Paul's Institute, held last month at St Paul's
Cathedral. It featured a number of women in leadership in the
Church, business, and civil society.
The Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the
House of Commons, who is also a Prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral,
a Priest Vicar of Westminster Abbey, and a Chaplain to the Queen,
compared the iniquity of slavery to the lack of progress for
"The real crisis which we face is not a lack of quality in
leadership but something much deeper than that. It is a failure to
respect the others' humanity, a failure to respect women as human
Liz Bingham, managing partner for talent at the accountants EY,
pointed out that less than six per cent of FTSE100 directors were
women, and only one fifth of MPs.
"There is a moral imperative but that doesn't wash in the world
of commerce where it's all about growth and profit. However, our
research found that gender balanced teams delivered projects and
work for clients that was more profitable and of a better
The concept of different but equal roles for women was attacked
by Frances O'Grady, the first female general secretary of the
Trades Union Congress.
"I know enough of the history of race segregation in the United
States of America to be very sceptical of those who tell us,
whether in the Church or in the workplace, that somehow we can be
separate and equal."
During a question time after the speeches, Ms O'Grady told the
audience to extend a "hand up and a hand down"; to be lifted up by
women already in leadership, and to bring women with them.
The director of the campaign group Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti,
encouraged women to "be a beacon, not a token". A social media
campaign and a networking event at the Cathedral accompanied the