London - Dragons’ Den star Hilary Devey has spoken out against the idea of a glass ceiling, claiming it is a “myth” and an “excuse” for women’s own failings in the business world.
Despite admitting she struggled to balance her own work and family life, the 55-year-old, who is worth £50-million, said she is “living proof” women can rise to the top in the workplace.
She told Radio Times: “There are lots of myths about why women are under-represented in the boardroom, but the excuse about a ‘glass ceiling’ is the worst.
“I am living proof there’s no such thing.”
The daughter of a pub landlord founded Pall-Ex 16 years ago, a haulage firm which now has a £100-million turnover. She joined BBC 2’s business show last year for two series.
The mother-of-one conceded women “still have to sacrifice more than their male counterparts”, but said: “The sooner we stop complaining about our biological differences and get down to work, the sooner more women will rise to the top.”
Despite admitting women have to sacrifice more than men if they want to succeed in the workplace, she urged women not to use men as an “excuse” for their own failings.
She said: “Getting to where I am today has demanded many personal sacrifices.
“Twenty-six years ago, when I had my son, my employer at the time took away my company car before we were even out of the hospital. No one would get away with that today.”
Last year, Mrs Devey admitted she felt “responsible” for not caring enough for her son Mevlit, 25, after he developed a £600 a day heroin addiction.
Estimating she spent £500,000 on his recovery, she said: “Sometimes I can't help but feel responsible. I ask myself if things would have been different had I not been so busy doing Pall-Ex.
“I would give it all back today if I knew for sure my son would get completely better.
“I know I spoiled him when he was a kid but I was a single mother and he was my whole world.”
Devey has been married three times.
Talking about her failed relationships in May, she said: “What I have achieved emasculates men. God knows why. I'm not strident in a relationship. I'm very traditional, I like cooking and cleaning.” - Daily Mail
* Dragon’s Den kicked off in South Africa on DSTV’s BBC Knowledge on Monday 20 August at 19:00.