Women trying to break into the top echelons of business might take heart from the example of Joan of Arc. At just 16, her premonitory visions of future military victories won her one of the most challenging management positions available in the early 1400s: commander of the massed French armies in their war against the English. She donned her outsized armour and took to battle with a religious Thatcherite zeal. But it was only after she pulled an arrow from her shoulder in the heat of battle that her macho commanders took her seriously, acknowledging that unlike the other women they knew, this one had balls. Joan lived by mens' rules but also died by them. She was eventually abandoned to the Burgundians, sold to the English and (illegally) burnt at the stake. Business women in the Noughties may prefer not to take things so far. Admire Joan for her macho spirit, but live and work by your own rules. Martyrdom just isn't worth it.
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