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How to fight biases against Women in Leadership?
For years together women have been the backbone of the society. Whether it is indulging in family matters, excelling in business or running a country, there is no field a woman cannot thrive in. Sheryl Sandburg the Chief operating Officer at Facebook rightly said:
"We need women at all levels including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored".
As we stand here today facing the global pandemic many women have proved to be better at handling critical situations.
Women have a strong emotional power and resistance when it comes to facing crisis and they know how to handle themselves and connect with people around them. However, the bias still exists: women are said to be weak and disastrous as they tend to take decisions from their heart and not from their mind. In my opinion, people who engage in such bias are the ones facing emotional weakness and tend to dominate based on an outdated thought process.
Women have grown to be all-rounders. They are comfortable with changes which means they have greater flexibility which increases their efficiency in the workplace. Even after the awareness on these traits, women are surrounded with doubt, judgement and sometimes inappropriate behavior.
‘Are you sure you’re capable of this?’, ‘Will you be able to complete your work on time?’, ‘Are you making the right decision?’ and many such questions are often posed to women rather than men. In some cases, gender equality has only been a saying without putting it into practice. Women around the world have demonstrated to be as hardworking and street smart as men. They tackle situations in a calm manner whether it is emerging from a loss in business, fighting for a seat in the politics or saving a child in the labor room. Their careers however pose them to work harder mentally rather than physically. They have to face opinions, irrelevant comments and misjudgment a lot more than their actual work. A term called Equanimity is often used to portray women as being stable and having an even mind or soul.
Current statistics state that employees prefer women leadership traits to male ones. Then why the bias? Why the judgement? The answer still prevails in the eyes of the unknown. I consider every individual to have the judgement trait within themselves. This can include thoughts they believe in, biases and influential thinking. If each individual doesn’t take steps towards accepting and understanding new cultures, traits and generations the world will remain the same. The problems women face won’t change, the gap between gender equality and diversity will not reduce if each individual doesn’t contribute. Instead of stating ‘Men do it better than Women’ how about using unbiased data to prove the efficiency and productivity in both genders. Workplaces should aim to have a fair representation of women and men to ensure gender equality and business productivity.
The survival of the corporates requires a diversity of thinking and strategies: women are fine creatives, smartest psychologists, scientist, leaders and can thrive in any profession they decide for. They naturally acknowledge the rights of others while keeping in mind the growth and stability of their business ventures. Confidence and connections (2 dimensions of emotional intelligence) are two important factors that act as barriers for women. Women must be onboarded to leadership in the initial stages of their lives. Have they been encouraged to lead as a child? Have they been in a patriarchal environment? All these factors make a big difference towards the opportunities a woman can acquire.
We can always find one Angela Merkel to compare to Barack Obama, Donald Trump or Tim Cook. The task is to allow more women like Judy Smith, Sonia Gandhi and Theresa May who do not shudder their dreams and grow strong in leadership. The world needs more women who change it for the better and help it evolve from where it is stuck.
Digital Communication Associate, Bessern.
Check out this short video on How to Learn Confidence