Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko
It’s not a matter of which sexual orientation is better at leadership. Instead, it’s the fact that women are typically less likely to be considered and allowed to hold authoritative positions due to characteristics associated with them that society has unjustly deemed weak. Regardless, women as leaders are a concept to be welcomed.
Women are powerful agents of change. When given the platform to speak up, women can provide unique solutions through a perspective men haven’t looked at and wouldn’t perceive into. With the difference in gender expressions and dynamics, women have strengths and vulnerabilities not found in men that benefit state affairs. Yet, despite this possibly significant role in society, women are, in all honesty, still seen as inferior to men when it comes to leadership and authority. Regardless of women losing their voices to advocate for feminism, for equal rights and treatment, one way or another, they will remain subservient to their masculine counterparts.
Gap in Perception
The world may be progressing, but gender treatment remains subtly unfair. Many might argue that society has advanced toward equal opportunities, and there are numerous laws and circumstances to prove that society has grown non-discriminant toward women. But while this surface equality exists, there will always be deep-seated advantages that men will enjoy and women won’t.
These manifest in society’s subconscious perception of women’s competencies, which can be attributed to the generational disadvantage that women, who, for so long, have been oppressed, have gradually accumulated over time. Women as leaders are less likely to be accepted. But this is because they have been given little to no opportunities to show their capacities as persons of authority. Before they’re even given a chance to showcase their competencies, societies already have preconceived notions of how women will be in position.
Lack of Women as Leaders
Despite women making up more than half the workforce, only a tiny percentage are entrusted with leadership roles. Factors often attributed to this gap include the limited diversity in the pool of candidates, which likely points to or assumes that women consciously avoid pursuing these positions. A typical inference to this is that women have lower stress tolerance than men, leading to them actively straying away from these positions.
These boil down to corporations arguing that the primary reason for this lack of women as leaders isn’t due to barricades they’ve placed but because women haven’t stepped up to fill their plates. Supposed this has been true, a shift in this trend should be observed now that women are loudly showing interest in acquiring these positions. However, they still aren’t actively recruited for numerous reasons, most of which may come from prejudiced judgment. And whenever they’re hired, they’re placed into lower-level positions, despite outperforming men on some measures.
Despite an abundance of high-performing women eager to lead, organizations still overlook them when considering people to place in positions. The question now isn’t whether they can perform because various research points to positive assessment toward them, but why corporations persist on an already disproven gender inequality.
Stereotypes Making Women Qualified Leaders
Women are stereotyped as highly empathetic and more emotional than ratio, hence viewed as non-leaders or ineffective authority figures. This is attributed to the belief that for leadership to be effective, it should co-exist with assertiveness and aggression – either of which is assumed to be lacking in women. Since they’re tagged as highly emotional, women’s insights are likely to be perceived as less credible compared to when these sentiments are coming from men. They’re presumed to come from vulnerable conditions, made at heightened emotions, and thus deemed irrational.
However, contrary to common belief, the characteristics that society has deemed women to be ineffective leaders are what make them better. Studies have pointed to humility, moral sensitivity, kindness, and even emotionality as key traits encompassing excellent leaders. And it just so happens that women outperform men on these traits, proving that femininity can be a strong driver to success in leadership.
A leader’s primary goal is influencing and motivating others toward a common goal. Assertiveness may work, but it won’t be able to sustain obedience in the long run. To accomplish this goal, leaders must possess traits that can motivate others, most of which women have. Women as leaders take on more transformational leadership, which can be seen as emotional more than rational. But this doesn’t make it weaker than the traditional intervention or exception style. This means that banking on their empathetic or so-called vulnerable side inspires and encourages change in others.