Business leader says Scottish women are held back by lack of ambition, not glass ceiling

Lady Susan Rice also dismissed boardroom quotas

A high-level businesswoman and economic adviser has said women are held back by a lack of professional ambition as opposed to the glass ceiling.

Lady Susan Rice, who is the managing director of Lloyds Banking Group Scotland, said in a submission to an inquiry by MSPs into problems faced by female workers that some choose work-life balance over reaching the top.

She said: ‘Contrary to some common assumptions, I believe all women do not share the same aspirations and the same challenges regarding work.

‘Family-friendly practices can be helpful, but not always. Enhancing such policies doesn’t always benefit women in terms of their aspirations for work. Some women aspire to high levels of success, while others often reach a stage where they decide those goals are not worth the effort.

‘We have to respect both approaches, but we must not assume the latter group would have achieved more simply by a change in policy or workplace practice.’

She also dismissed calls for gender quotas in boardrooms, which has been much debated in the UK. She said: [a quota] is not the policy of choice for any female non-executive I know’.

However not all women agreed with her. Petra Wetzel, founder of the West brewery in Glasgow, told the Herald newspaper: ‘While I agree with a lot of what Lady Rice says, she is clearly from a privileged background and I doubt that she truly faces the same challenges as some other very talented women trying to make their mark in the corporate world.

‘You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that you need to earn a substantial gross salary to merely cover your childcare costs. How many people earn that sort of money in Scotland?’

Do you agree or disagree with Lady Rice’s comments? Let us know below.

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