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Cultural shift needed to get more women into top jobs, says Mary Portas

Efforts to get more women into top jobs are failing to make enough of a difference and businesses need a cultural shift that allows men to take on more responsibility for raising children, Mary Portas has said.
Speaking at the Telegraphs Festival of Business today, the retail guru said: Its very difficult for women to get to the top in business especially when you have children. Its the conversation that needs to be had, its the elephant in the room.
The former Harvey Nichols creative director dismissed suggestions that the issue receives another attention already.
What percentage of women are at the top of FTSE 100 companies? 7pc? she said. Well its not exactly working is it? That is the truth of it. This isnt anti-blokes. This is about changing the absolute barriers that are in the workplace.
Instead of mothers being expected to take all the responsibility of raising a child, couples should be thinking as though we are pregnant, she said, whether thats single-sex couples or whatever, and the Government should be investing, we should have paternity and maternity leave for both".
Cultural shift needed to get more women into top jobs, says Mary Portas

Mary Portas said firms that don't invest in their staff will disappear from the high street
Business has been created by men for men, she added. We have to look at the institutional barriers that stop women getting to the top, thats what needs to change. Most men do not want to have the constructs on the way they work currently. They too would want the freedom to have time with their family.
Ms Portas, who led a review of Britains high streets under former prime minister David Cameron, also suggested the future of retail is totally polarised as those who fail to invest in their staff will struggle.
One end is going to be about service and experience and knowledge... the person there on the shop floor has to have insight and knowledge.
Take Apple, you go into Apple and you get these cool dudes coming over to you, in his little blue sweatshirt and his cool afro and whatever. You can buy that stuff online but hell tell you something about technology that you didnt know.
This is going to be the future. Businesses that are underpaying these people and not investing in them are the ones that were going to start losing from the high streets.
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