One of Emma McGuigan’s bugbears might come as a shock. ‘Someone called me superwoman last week and I hated it!’ she told MT’s Inspiring Women conference in Edinburgh. Though considering she’s Accenture’s senior MD of technology, a mum of three children and a triathlete, it's not surprising some think she's a pro plate-spinner.
‘When people give us labels like superwoman it makes us feel like we have magic, but we don’t,’ she points out. ‘We all just work really hard.’ And that’s what she thinks should be celebrated. ‘Why do we never ask men if you can have it all?’ she asks.
McGuigan says there's a similar case of different expectations just in terms of how men and women talk to one another. ‘We expect women to use a different style of language,’ she says. ‘More supportive and more collaborative.’ And while this comes with its troubles, McGuigan doesn’t think this means people should dismiss such qualities.
Many women have a way with ‘soft’ networking – almost not realising they’re doing it. ‘We’re great at putting each other at ease,’ McGuigan says. She thinks this ability can be used in business situations; it’s particularly handy for negotiations. ‘Use your ability with dialogue to turn situations into constructive outcomes.’