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JK Rowling Voted UK's Most Inspirational Woman Who Works as Survey Highlights What It Takes to Succeed

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From Nationwide Building Society --

In a poll commissioned by Nationwide Building Society to mark International Women's Day, Harry Potter author JK Rowling has been voted the UK's most inspirational woman who works. Other inspirational women mentioned in the list include: Karren Brady - Football executive; freight company owner Hilary Devey; Shami Chakrabati, director of civil liberties organisation Liberty and charity leader Camila Batmanghelidjh.

The survey also asked women about their views on the most important attributes for an inspirational female manager at work. The results included:

  • Around seven in ten (71%) think leading by example is important.
  • More than two thirds (68%) say they should be hardworking.
  • Being a people person is valued by 62% of women.
  • 60% think intelligence is key to being inspirational.
  • Having a good work-life balance was selected by 57% of women
  • More than half selected being a good negotiator and overcoming adversity (51%).

The benefits of a balanced workforce were also showcased through the poll, as more than 2,000 men and women gave their views on the strengths of male and female managers at work. While many of the strengths were felt to be broadly similar, with the majority of both sexes agreeing there was no difference, there were a number of specific traits where there was agreement. These included:

  • Nearly four in ten (37%) believe women are more capable at managing multiple projects, while only 7% think men were more efficient.
  • More than one in five (27%) think women are better at looking after the interests and wellbeing of their staff. Just one in ten think men perform better.
  • Nearly half (45%) believe women are better at handling sensitive situations at work, with only 5% saying the same for men.

The poll comes ahead of the Awards for Excellence 2014 - an annual recognition event hosted by Opportunity Now, Business in the Community's gender equality campaign, and sponsored by Nationwide, where 67% of the workforce are women and 65% of managers are also female.

Tony Prestedge, Nationwide's Chief Operating Officer at Nationwide and a Board member of Opportunity Now, said: "Inspirational women are everywhere - whether that is in the public eye or within offices and boardrooms up and down the country. However, while there is no shortage of talent out there, we need to start seeing more talented women being taken on by companies.

"Having a diverse workforce is a business imperative to us at Nationwide - diversity encourages new ways of working, different approaches and a strong work culture. But it is not about just ticking boxes. Hiring more women must be about appointing those who are the best candidates for the job, while the right candidates need to be identified for promotion opportunities."

Kathryn Nawrockyi, Director of Opportunity Now, said: "This year's International Women's Day is all about inspiring change and celebrating women's achievements. Although there can often be a stereotypical view of 'women at the top', this survey shows that women's role models are actually incredibly diverse. It's also great to see that members of the public recognise the strength of having good female leaders in the workplace - although there is still a lack of women in senior roles.

"Today Opportunity Now has announced the shortlisted organisations for the 2014 Excellence in Practice Awards, who have worked to support women at all levels across a wide range of sectors. Their success in reaching the shortlists shows that increasing the representation of women within the workforce benefits not just the women themselves, but also the organisation and society as a whole. They are a great example of how to help the best people get the right jobs, irrespective of their gender, and I hope other organisations will learn from their good practice."

 

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