10 Sue Bennett on being promoted for 'having balls'


There was a women’s development course, four-day from memory, a four-day women’s development course and I really wanted to go on the course, so I rang up and said I want to secure my place but I’d got to get the final say-so.  And I went to my immediate boss who was the production director and he said, ‘Oh no, I don’t think we can support that.’  So I thought hmm.

So I went to see the managing director of the division, I went to see him and I said, ‘The production director won’t support me, I think this is a really good course.  I think it would be really good, it’s a management course for women, I’d learn lots.’  And he said, ‘No, I don’t think we could support that.’  And I said, ‘Well, why not?’  And he said, ‘Well, you know, it’s not going to be a women that succeeds me.’  So I said, ‘Well, who is going to succeed you then?’  And he said, ‘Well, anyone who’s going to succeed me is going to stab me in the back.’  And I thought, let me be first in the queue – I didn’t say that.

So I said, ‘Well’, I remember drawing myself up to my full height of 5′ 8″ and I said, ‘When you have a more positive attitude towards your staff, male and female, perhaps you’d let me know…’, sort of kicked the door down, ran down the corridor, went to the ladies loo, kicked the door down at the ladies loo, went into one of the cubicles and burst into tears of course.

But he didn’t see all of that, he just saw me really fighting back.  And the irony of course is that he then decided I’d got balls and promoted me.

Couldn’t make it up really, could you?

So the qualities then that they were looking for in the people they promoted were masculine qualities?

Yes, yeah, they’d got balls, or sort of pretend ones.

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