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Female Chief Of Institution For Management Wants New Rules: Men Should Shut Up About Sports
Coworkers watching some sport at digital tablet and celebrating at work
Photo by FG Trade/GettyImages

A woman who is the head of a venerable institution for management in Great Britain has a new parameter she would like to see implemented in offices: reduce the time men talk about sports.

Ann Francke, the Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), which was created in 1947 as the British Institute of Management (BIM), then merged with the Institution of Industrial Managers (IIM) to form the Institute of Management (IM) in 1992 and obtained a Royal Charter to become the Chartered Management Institute in 2002, told the BBC’s “Today” program, “A lot of women, in particular, feel left out. They don’t follow those sports and they don’t like either being forced to talk about them or not being included. I have nothing against sports enthusiasts or cricket fans – that’s great. But the issue is many people aren’t cricket fans,” according to the BBC.

Francke opined that talking about sports was problematic because of where it led: “It’s a gateway to more laddish behaviour and — if it just goes unchecked — it’s a signal of a more laddish culture. It’s very easy for it to escalate from VAR talk and chat to slapping each other on the back and talking about their conquests at the weekend.”

CMI notes, “In 2019, Ann was awarded an OBE for services to workplace equality. Ann is an expert on gender balance in the workplace and speaks frequently in the media and conferences on this and other management topics. Her book on gender balance – Create a Gender-balanced Workplace, published in September 2019.”

Sports journalist Jacqui Oatley disagreed with Francke’s position, stating to “Today,” “If you ban football chat or banter of any description, then all you’re going to do is alienate the people who actually want to communicate with each other.” She added, “It would be so, so negative to tell people not to talk about sport because girls don’t like it or women don’t like it, that’s far more divisive.”

Francke wrote in August 2016 during the presidential election that the reason Hillary Clinton wasn’t as popular as she should have been was that she had the temerity to ask for a promotion:

 … male managers are 40 per cent more likely to get promoted than women. Too many women still don’t ask – something I’ll come back to. But perhaps the more interesting thing is what happens when women DO ask. They face the Hillary Backlash.

Let me start by saying that as a dual UK/US citizen Hillary Clinton gets my vote – by far the best and only competent choice for the White House. But the reason I mention her here, is that she suffers from exactly the same problem as many ordinary women in the workplace. She’s had the audacity to ask for a promotion …

Don’t demonize women who have the nerve to do what men do naturally – showcase their achievements and ask for promotion – as “aggressive.” “bossy” or “selfish.” Ask yourself: if this was a man how would I view it? Stop the Hillary Backlash. She may just be the best choice.

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