Gender: The unspoken prejudice for leadership roles

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Gender: The unspoken prejudice for leadership roles


Why is she a woman first and a leader later?

The world of
opportunities is yet to open for women and emerge from the confines of gender stereotypes.
There exists a strong bias towards having a masculine
model of leadership. Although there is a significant improvement in the trends
of leadership roles for women, gender stereotype continues to be a compelling
barrier. Men have always outnumbered women in leadership roles. Women
leaders execute more of a transformational style of leadership. Women have
time and again proven to be effective crisis management leaders. Women are more
risk-aversive and also focus more on long-term interests than do their male
counterparts. In her book 
Why the Best Man for the Job is a
Woman: the Unique Female Qualities of Leadership
, Esther Wachs dwells into
the careers of successful top female leaders and their life. The book echoes
the qualities of a female leader that includes persuasiveness, determination to
reinvent opportunities and rules, envision a bright future and sell their
visions, and focus on the details and yet not forget the larger picture.


In spite of
being capable leaders, women are still at large declined the status of leaders
due to typical gender stereotypes. The society continues to believe in having
transactional and aggressive leaders which best define a male leader.
Behavioral traits exhibited by men and women though similar are not liable for
the same treatment. Men are perceived to be more competent, eligible and of
higher status than women in the same leadership roles by the society at large.

Gender leadership roles

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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Source: A report from the
Girl Scout research institute, girl scouts of the USA,    March 2008                      


When you analyze the
above poll results, women are preferred for tasks like taking care of others,
running a household, organizing an event, conflict resolution, crisis
management, money management, collaborating with others and yet when you
actually require a leader it’s a man. Ironically when women exhibit all the
desired characteristics of being an eligible leader and the society defines her
to be an eligible leader it fails to accept her as a leader.

It is important to create
a stress-free work environment and an ability to deal with situations in a
holistic and harmonious manner. Most women lack aggression in such situations but
definitely are assertive. In the prevailing organizational structure, there
needs to be a higher degree of sensitivity to help prevent discrimination and
provide equal opportunities to both men and women in workplaces. It is
necessary to address the gender equity issues and stand up to our rights. So, all
of us women need to start a collective business planning process to improve the
market share of women in leadership positions in the world of entrepreneurship.


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