Disclaimer: Please note that all commentary and opinions provided in this interview are those of the individual and not the organisation/company they are employed by.
What skills and attributes do female leaders bring to create diverse leadership at management level?
Gender shouldn’t be a factor in whether or not someone is a better leader, however, women are likely to approach work in a more self-reflective way. Women are more empathetic, naturally more nurturing which enables a stronger understanding of what motivates people and build on people’s strengths. Women have proven to have higher emotional intelligence which is emerging as an essential leadership skill in current times. Women especially mothers are tuned to manage crisis situations with compassion and patience. They are often juggling multiple hats balancing careers, households, among other things and therefore are more focused on solutions. All these life skills and attributes are important for being an inspiring and effective leader and brings the much needed diversity at the leadership table.
What does “choose to challenge” mean to you?
For me, choose to challenge stands for challenging gender specific stereotyping. A great deal of progress has been made towards gender equality, and this progress is particularly evident in the workplace but still there is absolutely no denying that we are far from full gender equality either at pay level or position level and a majority of barriers for women’s advancement are invariably consequences of gender stereotypes either through gender bias workplace decisions or women’s selflimiting behaviour. We need to constantly work towards challenging these set social roles and stereotypes as they bias consequent decisions that impact opportunities and work outcomes for both men and women.
What is one thing women don’t talk about enough?
Women don't talk enough about their own achievements and give themselves credit for their hardship and successes. One of the reasons being, women in general don’t want to alienate others or be perceived as boastful. We should start acknowledging, embracing, and promoting our accomplishments and not undermine them in the fear of how it will be perceived by others. Just the way we take responsibility for our failures, we should own our successes and talk about them wherever possible. Find that balance between courageous self-promotion and selfdefeating modesty. You never know whom you will end up inspiring with your stories and self-promotion.
Why is it important that we “choose to challenge” and call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping?
It is very important to it call it out as it limits one’s growth at workplace and can cause one to question their own abilities. Gender specific stereotyping limits a lot of women as they count themselves out of pursuing seniors roles, despite having the skills to succeed and thus leads to less diverse thinking and skewed gender representation at senior levels.
Click below to read the full edition of IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge: Female Leaders Across The Globe.