Challenges of Women in Leadership Roles
by Ericka Outland
When one looks at the history of the last 100 years and the leaders and news makers, we would be hard pressed to find women. Why is that? I can understand 200 or even 300 years ago. But I have heard so much that women have come such a long way. Obviously they have not come far enough.
If you look at the households in North America I would be confident to say the majority of them are ruled by women. Even today with more often than not both parents working the women still runs the home. She is the organizer, cooker, cleaner and child minder to name a few. Trust me as a single mother this requires a lot of leadership ability. So then why when we look politics, large corporations and the likes where are all the women leaders. Realistically just the fact that I am writing on this topic shows that there are challenges of women in leadership. We don’t seem to question the challenges that men face we just assume they are leaders. They say behind every good man is a better women.
A quote by Lawrence H Summers – a key note speaker – says” a society that does not establish pathways to leadership for all of its citizens is a society that is denying itself a possibility of excellence.” Do you know that only 2% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are women? It seems that closing the leadership gap between men and women has been one of the challenges in the last even 50 years. From all indications it doesn’t seem to be working.
Let’s maybe take a look at what leadership means, it may help us understand why it seems so hard for a woman to obtain this. In my opinion I see leadership means inspiring, delegation, collaboration, communication, influence, knowledge, respect and the ability to constantly learn and change. Personally in my life I know quite a few women that fit this description, and more. I also find many times women play into this label that we are not natural leaders. Generally we are softer spoken, more sensitive, more emotion and more of a helper. Quite often we tend to stay in the background, out of the limelight so as not to attract attention. The competitiveness in today’s society is so intense in this day and age. It would be nice to see more people and businesses support and nurture the differences of people rather than force them to comply. Forcing people to feel men belong at the top and women follow.
There are many challenges to women in Leadership. Many of the challenges come from other people. Yet some of them come from the women themselves. Women need to be confident in them and their ability to do anything anyone can do not just a man. Know who you are as a person and express that. Demand and expect the right to be treated fairly. Society needs to start accepting women as capable to accomplish anything. Success should not be dependent on what gender you are. Keep a positive attitude and explore all avenues out there.
So even though the challenges of women of leadership are many, it is still less than it was 50 years ago, and is hopefully less than it will be 50 years from now. Not just women but everyone needs to keep striving for the equableness of all. Respect everyone for their successes based on that not according to which bathroom we use.