Baroness Kingsmill: Why is it so difficult for British women to get to the top?

While we've made some progress since the 1980s, tougher action is needed to address inequality between the sexes, says Denise Kingsmill.

by Denise Kingsmill

For those of us bringing the first sexual harassment cases in the early 1980s, the conspiracy of silence that surrounded the horrible, exploitative behaviour of the late Jimmy Savile is particularly sickening. So too is the way in which so many showbiz and media has-beens seek to extract a morsel of self-serving publicity by claiming to have known all about it at the time. They didn't speak up, they claim, because 'no one would have believed them', or 'times were different then'.

Do they not realise that they were colluding in the repellent behaviour by remaining silent? That they were enabling the abuser by failing to express anger or disapproval? Some of them, unafraid to be loud-mouthed in other contexts, should have known better and used their 'celebrity' to expose him and protect the vulnerable.

Fortunately, some people did speak up against harassment at the time, if not about Savile. Brave victims brought legal actions, the few lawyers working in this field brought test cases and some supportive journalists wrote insightfully about the issue.

Sign in to continue

Sign in

Trouble signing in?

Reset password: Click here


Call: 020 8267 8121



  • Up to 3 free articles every 90 days
  • Free email bulletins

Register Now

Take a free trial

Get 30 days unrestricted access to:

  • All the latest news, trends, and developments.
  • Exclusive interviews with CEOs and thought-leaders
  • MT Classroom - giving you an academic grounding without expensive courses
  • Management Matters and other in-depth content.
  • Daily bulletins straight to your inbox

Take a free trial today