Doubling Down on Double Standards: British Journalist Mary Ann Sieghart on closing The Authority Gap
Gender bias is everywhere, impacting how we view authority and power around the world. In fact, it’s so pervasive—and potentially damaging to organizations—that our guest Mary Ann Sieghart wrote a book about it titled Authority Gap, which explores the critical issue of why women are often taken less seriously than men. This unconscious, double standard behavior affects the C Suite, boardrooms, and conference rooms alike—even the US Supreme Court and UK Parliament. We talk with Mary Ann – journalist, author, non-executive director, and television broadcaster – about why organizations and boards need to change gender bias culture and how to make the critical shift from the top down. It’s a thought-provoking conversation well worth the listen for leaders of any gender.
If you want to hear more conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion, you might enjoy these other Redefiner episodes:
- Power, Politics and Purpose: Leadership Lessons with Former PM of Australia Julia Gillard
- From Gillette to Jamba Juice: How to Lead Iconic Brands with Empathy, Purpose & Integrity with James D. White
- Break the Bias: Closing the Gender Wealth Gap with Sallie Krawcheck
Mary Ann Sieghart - Journalist, author, non-executive director, broadcaster
Mary Ann Sieghart leads a portfolio life. She makes programmes for BBC Radio 4 and is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London. She spent 2018-19 as a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, where she researched her book, The Authority Gap, on why women are taken less seriously than men. She is Chair of the judges for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022.
Mary Ann is a Non-Executive Director of the Guardian Media Group and Chair of the Investment Committee of The Scott Trust (owner of The Guardian and The Observer), Senior Independent Director of Pantheon International, Non-Executive Director of The Merchants Trust and Senior Independent Trustee of the Kennedy Memorial Trust. Until recently, she was Chair of the Social Market Foundation, a non-party-political think tank, Senior Independent Director of Henderson Smaller Companies Investment Trust and sat on the Content Board of Ofcom and the Council of Tate Modern.
She spent 19 years as Assistant Editor of The Times, including as Acting Editor of the Monday edition, Op-Ed Editor, Arts Editor, Chief Political Leader-Writer and political and social affairs columnist both on the Op-Ed page and in Times2. She has also written a weekly column in The Independent about politics, economics and social affairs, and presented Newshour, the BBC World Service’s flagship news and current affairs programme.
Mary Ann has extensive TV and radio experience, including presenting Start the Week, Analysis, Profile, One to One, Fallout, The Inquiry, Beyond Westminster, Newshour, Powerhouse, The Brains Trust, The Week in Westminster, Taking Issue, The Big Picture, No Illusions and The World This Week. She has regularly appeared as a guest on Question Time, Any Questions, Today, Newsnight, The World Tonight, Channel 4 News, PM, The Andrew Marr Show, The World at One, Woman’s Hour and The Daily Politics. Before joining The Times, Mary Ann was political correspondent of The Economist, City Editor of Today newspaper and a Lex columnist and Eurobond correspondent at the Financial Times.
She has also sat on numerous boards, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the North Fulham New Deal for Communities, New Europe, the No Campaign, the Radcliffe Trust, the Social Studies Faculty of Oxford University, Women in Journalism and the National Council for One-Parent Families. She won the Laurence Stern Fellowship to work on The Washington Post. She also captained The Times’s University Challenge: The Professionals team, which reached the semi-final.