Maybe there’s a different way of looking at things.
Jon Dymond, director of the Hay Group management consultants firm, told a newspaper recently that managers "need to stop expecting women to behave more like men, and instead explore what they themselves can do differently".
But there’s some comfort in the fact that other people can’t see it.
Their presence opens up new perspectives, different value systems, maybe an element of empathy which might not have been there before.
It’s no longer the 80s when men were alpha and women wore trouser suits.
There are, of course, plenty of women who are true to themselves and who never try to be anything else – a shining example is Tessa Ross, controller of Film 4 – but there are still too many who feel they need to talk like a man, act like a man, even dress like a man, especially in male-dominated industries.
But why should a woman lower her voice (as Margaret Thatcher famously did) or adjust to the traditional male way of doing business?
Women identify with the phenomenon more readily than men possibly because they are more self-analytical or possibly because they tend to lack confidence in their abilities.
In a male-dominated workplace, it’s sometimes easier to avoid putting their head above the parapet.There is now plenty of evidence that mixed boards mean better business.Many top businessmen recognise that the dialogue is better and there’s more collaborative decision-making with women at the table.Even the bullish Alastair Campbell understands self-doubt – but he sees it as a strength not a weakness: "It is the means by which I prepare, consider other options and perspectives, strive for clarity about what can be attained and what cannot – and then, critically, stop the doubting, and act." And of course it can be a sign of emotional intelligence as well as wisdom.In the words of Bertrand Russell: "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts." Self-awareness is key to overcoming that phony feeling. Finding soulmates and allies, discovering that you’re not alone can be very reassuring.Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In says: "Fear is at the root of so many barriers that women face. Of course there are many women who are brimming with – apparent – self-belief. Do we spend too much time on the detail and not on the big picture, keep a low profile at meetings, fail to put ourselves forward in case we’re labelled bossy? Research shows that many women, instead of being proud of their achievements, tend to downplay them.