5 Ways women can become leaders in a male-led society
In a society dominantly led by men, women have been given a daunting challenge on how to build themselves up in leadership roles. While the world has gone a long way from the constricting world often afforded to women, stereotypes still abound especially about what gender a leader should have. Surveys and studies have shown that women do seem to be better leaders, but realistically, there are very few women leaders, especially in male dominated industries.
For women to excel and reach the top, they face a different set of challenges than their male counterparts. They have to tackle the biases related to how leaders are perceived by everyone. While they may both be going through the same business related challenges, men are promoted and given more challenging assignments. Men are also more confident with their positions and know that they will be rewarded based on their merit. Women on the other hand, feel that they have to strive more to get to the top. Most feel that promotions and opportunities are not given fairly, and that their gender affects how they receive promotions and increments. Women on senior positions also feel that their gender will be a hindrance for advancement, and that they need to work harder to maintain the position that they currently hold.
There are even more studies that show that women in power receive and experience backlash for being assertive. While being assertive is considered as a positive leadership quality for men, when women incorporate it to their leadership style, they are perceived as being poorer leaders. Also, when women demonstrate their competence in a largely male industry, they are punished for it socially. They become a pariah to their social circle.
So what is a woman to do in order to excel in leadership especially in a male dominated society? Here are some recommendations:
1. Adversity makes you stronger
There is no career without any challenges. Especially for women. How you overcome these challenges however, will show how resilient you are as a person and as a leader. When a challenge comes your way, do not see this as something that is out to bring you down. Be it criticisms or discrimination, realize that overcoming these will make you stronger. It will build your character and your resilience to anything that comes your way. Stay humble, and ask for help. The key to staying afloat is by learning to lower your ego and not letting it interfere.
2. Get out of the box
Step out of your comfort zone. Women are often disadvantaged in this area. We are often perceived as weak and fearful. Most of the time, we are. We hold ourselves back for fear of what we do not know, but there is always the negative of never knowing what you might have had if you don’t take the leap. Also, we are bound by what society tells us as women. From a young age, we were expected to be nice, polite, and deferential to others. Most women have a fear of voicing out what is on their minds, so as not to sound aggressive.
It is time for women to break free from the mold. We miss our opportunities because we do not position ourselves to take it. When we step out of the comfort zone and see that regardless of our gender, our voices, and our opinions, and our thoughts do matter, we are letting everyone know that we are not indifferent and disengaged. So the next time you are in a meeting, share what you know. Your insights will recognize and appreciate you for contributing.
3. Support other women
Cat fights. A term not labeled for cats, but for women. Sadly, females in general do not stick together. It is even common to hear about women tearing down fellow ladies in order to get ahead in their careers. We often see each other as competition. This is not a sound move for us. We should be building each other up, so that there will be more of us representing our gender in the workplace and in leadership. When we work together in working for the common goal of having equality in our workplaces, we must first learn to respect and appreciate each other.
4. Know who you are and what you can do
Being a woman is often the biggest challenge in advancing in a career. However, when you accept who you are, and you appreciate what you can do, you can use your perceived weakness in order to get ahead. We often fear that we are not being taken seriously, or that we cannot handle work and family, or that we are not confident enough to lead. These are the very same reasons why we are pushed back from leadership. When we let these very things tie us down, then it would prove that women are not capable enough to be leaders. But when as women we can show them that we have our own set of skills and characters, and that we are confident enough of our womanhood, we gain the respect and we advance our cause for equality.
5. Give it your best shot
Whatever the gender, a good hard work is the best way to be recognized for your skills and talents. Build your career by seeing the potential that you have. Be the first to take yourself seriously. Make career decisions that are according to your ambitions. Be fearless, never underestimate yourself, and don’t be afraid to stand out. Learn from your mistakes and be persistent.
The modern woman has accomplished and had advanced so far in gaining equality in today’s times. But there are still challenges that seem to stop us from getting to where we should be. Sure, there were big steps taken to get to where we are now, but there is even a lot more of catching up to do before we can say that we’ve finally reached the equality of the genders. For a modern career woman, success as a leader is not measured by how much better a woman is in leading than a man. It is in having a diverse and unique perspective, and in overcoming the doubts thrown your way that had pushed you to reach your full potential.
Gemma Reeves is a seasoned writer who enjoys creating helpful articles and interesting stories. She has worked with several clients across different industries such as advertising, online marketing, technology, healthcare, family matters, and more. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is engaged in assisting other aspiring entrepreneurs in finding the best office space for their business.
Check out her company here: FindMyWorkspace