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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.

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by: Anonymous

Very profound. It is not optimum a use of Humanity if Women are not given the space they so rightly deserve. Striving and fighting is not always the absolute methodology. Maturity, provides for recognition and positioning and that the 'Men' ought to start understanding....this is resultantly win for all!

The definition of leadership
by: Thandile

Maybe it our definition of leadership that need to be challenged.

It is true
by: kathren

Women have played their role in each segment of life and also proved to be more social than man. Even management skills, they showed their best of services all times.

by: John

I think women have to face many challenges when they get a leadership role. They should be bold in front of all and have the power to control her subordinates. I appreciate those women taking this huge effort.

by: Dianna

Well, I think that phase has been changed for women being a leader in the corporate world. Yeah, of course there were a lot of hardship they had to face in the initial stages, but that eventually got changed and you can see that changed in the head departments of every organization.

Men should get in line
by: Una Murray

I recently heard a Life Coach give an example of how women can help overcome obstacles to leadership roles and was astounded and the suggestion she made.
She basically said that women should amend how the communicate with men by not showing as much emotion in their voices or expressions when communicating with men in the organisation.

How about men need to accept that women are every bit as competent leaders as men if not better and for them to learn to accept our different communication styles. Being aware of the communication styles of others around you is very important as a leader no matter what gender you are.

I was astounded at the suggestion that women should hide or change who we are so that men will remove the glass ceiling.

I agree that we need to believe in ourselves more and I believe we need to be cleverer and more strategic about moving up like men are. Then we can smash that glass ceiling ourselves.

Strength of the women
by: Peter

We can see that a lot of women are working in top positions. In the absence of husband woman runs their home and manages the education of kids. The quote saying behind the success of every man there is a woman is really meaningful.

Yes they can
by: offei isaac

yes women are as intelligent as men and for that matter they have the strength and the capability to do whatever men can do..they just have to inspire themselves

Women , superior people
by: Anonymous

When it comes to leadership there is no doubt they are superior and have all the competencies to make effective leaders ....the only thing that is of paramount importance is that they should believe in themselves and their ability.

Yes I can
by: Hirut

Leadership is not a mattet of muscle it is a matter of mind. so if we are confident on ourselves yes we can make it!

Empowering Women
by: Marilyn Meissler

I am a firm believer that having women leaders can make a major difference in the workplace.

Women are amazing! It is time to step up and believe we are.
by: Sorelle

Women are amazing!

I am one of them and I am lucky enough to believe through and through that I am worthy of success and I believe I can change the world.

And I will!

It annoys me however, how little faith women actually have in themselves. They are ultimately responsible for the fact that they don't rule the companies. Because they don't believe they can.

Women have always and will continue to struggle with the idea that they are not good enough.

There's nothing that anyone can say or do to make you believe that you are amazing. You are the only one that can convince yourself that you are.

Step up to the plate. Come you really want to always be stepped over by males?

We'll all equal. Just different anatomies. Prove it to them.

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