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#Book Review: Ladder Climbing in High Heels

I just finished reading the book by inspirational Kate Cousens, a PR practitioner who wrote an autobiographical book about her experience of rising up in ranks in what is still a man’s world. Unlike many books telling women what to do and how to succeed by concentrating on teaching them how to be like men or how to navigate man’s world (thus internalising misogyny and accepting that women are interlopers in a man’s world), Kate is simply telling us her experiences and how she navigated difficult situations. Most of all, she recognises difficulties women face and shares experiences on how she succeeded by being and remaining feminine (and not accepting that this is a problem or that organisations are to remain a man’s world).

The book is also underpinned by some mindfulness theory and academic theories. For example,  leadership references are underpinned by research done in the Harvard Business Review journal, thus demonstrating that there is nothing so practical and useful as good research. In addition, some interesting information is provided in the book such as character descriptions and finding out where your personality fits in and what impact this has on your career. I took the quiz for fun, not expecting anything, only to realise that my ‘architect’ personality outcome makes a lot of sense actually and explains the difficulties I have with people. The quiz can be found here.

Some of the experiences mentioned in the book resonate with existing research, such as the Queen Bee syndrome, which has been identified in feminist literature and, in particular, in the public relations field (see Topić et al, 2019). In addition, we also learn some interesting observations about colours of clothes and how these can influence a woman’s career and plenty of other situations, many of which could be used to inform future research.

The book reads well and I really enjoyed it. I trust that many women will be able to resonate with some situations in the book, which makes this book an appealing read.

Thank you for reading.

References

Topić, M.; Cunha, M.J. Reigstad, A.; Jelen-Sanchez, A.; Diers Lawson, A.; Polić, M.; Moreno, A.; Zurbano Berenguer, B.; Damian-Gaillard, B.; Sanz, P.; Fuentes Lara, C.; Cesarec Salopek, N.; Saitta, E.; Cruz, C.; Simeunović Bajić, N.; Vandenberghe, H.; Bibilashvili, L.; Kaladze, N. (2019). Women in Public Relations – A Literature review (1982-2019). EUPRERA Report Vol 1., No. 1. Leeds/Brussels: Creative Media and Communications Research Ltd. & EUPRERA. ISSN 2633-2353. Retrieved from: http://eprints.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/6138/12/EupreraReportPV-TOPIC.pdf

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