In a fast paced and changing environment, the focus of attention is increasingly on the need for effective leadership not just good management, and women have recently proved that they are not only good in making food and taking care of children, but also good in leading the society and promoting a better generations. Moreover, women made dramatic gains in electoral politics, winning a number of high profile positions of national leadership and a record number of seats in parliaments around the world. However, ladies who are aspiring to leadership positions are facing particular challenges; they often face far more meticulous tests to determine their suitability for promotion and must be active in seeking selection for leadership positions. Nevertheless, in order to create your own opportunities, you should acquire the characteristics and competencies of an effective leader and integrate these into your personal leadership style not caring about your identity or gender. Furthermore, through interactive exercises and group discussions, female will gain powerful communication, negotiation and influencing skills which will help them succeed in male oriented working environments. They will learn how to achieve an assertive but not aggressive response styles and create and sustain an image of authority. They will also acquire valuable techniques to help them lead, empower and motivate their staff to excel. To give an opportunity for women to develop practical leadership skills as well as to benefit from the breadth of knowledge and experience of their peers within a range of commercial and public organizations is an obligation and a duty in the hands of the government. In fact, a large number of women around the world have set up and managed their own businesses. It was not easy for those women to succeed in business. They had to face a lot of difficulties and overcome a number of barriers to become successful in their ventures. They had to deal with discrimination and endure the doubt of society, and also put in more effort than men to prove their credibility to others. The frequent mismatch that arose against women, on the one hand is because of societal discourses and media representations which often reproduced slim and highly stereotypical accounts of women’s leadership, and on the other hand, because individual women’s subjective experiences of leadership challenged such representations. Many experiences have been conducted concerning women’s leadership,
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One of them was done through the Student Leadership Practices Inventory (Student LPI) and Leadership Competency Inventory (LCI), demographic questionnaire, and focus group interviews have been asked, the researchers explored the leadership training the women had received and their perception of their leadership abilities and development needs. The findings showed that the women reported frequently demonstrated exemplary leadership practices and many possessed significant leadership experience. Participants scored highest on competencies utilizing people skills and lowest in areas reflecting competence in cognitive or strategic skills. While exposed to formal leadership education, they reported receiving their leadership education primarily through observation and experience. Data from other studies were gathered in three diverse sample conditions to examine whether male and female managers differed in styles of leadership observed by their direct reports and they examined differences in both transformational and transactional leadership styles using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. In three samples, women leaders were rated by both their female and male direct reports as displaying certain key aspects of transformational leadership (i.e. charisma, individualized consideration) more frequently than men. Although the effect sizes were generally small, the results of these studies suggest that women are no less transformational than their male counterparts, and may, in fact, be more so. The sex of the raters did not appear to make any difference in the results obtained.
What studies and research have shown?
According to the new Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu report, “Paths to power: Advancing women in government,” launched in advance of International Women’s Day on March 8, governments have been more successful at advancing women than the private sector. Globally, women are increasingly being elected and appointed to positions of power within the public sector – such as heads of state, ministers and cabinet members, and legislators – more so than in the private sector.
Furthermore, “Talent and knowledge are the most important resources a nation can possess,” said Greg Pellegrino, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Global Public Sector Industry Leader, and one of the authors of the report. “Women’s progress has vital implications for the health and growth of governments, companies, and nations. Therefore, it is crucial that governments and companies work together to harness and cultivate global female talent, to help create positive change and ensure continued growth and success.”
According to Diana Radl Roger, partner at Deloitte Czech Republic and Slovakia, “creating appropriate conditions for women is a very difficult task because it demands cooperation of the whole organization. In my opinion, companies that take care of and support a better work-life balance, win their employees loyalty, and not only their female employees. They provide incentives for higher performance and professional growth. Indeed, the number of women in a company suggests the company’s culture and values,”
Progress with respect to women’s participation in the public sector serves as a model for the private sector. Countries that have women in government leadership positions have an increased number of issues affecting women on the legislative agenda, often resulting in positive societal and economic developments. For example, after ten women won parliamentary seats in Kenya, legislation relating to women’s issues, such as combating domestic violence, was passed into law.
Likewise, research has shown companies with women in leadership positions perform better and achieve more economic rewards than those without women representation. The top 500 multinational firms, which had at least three women on their boards, saw a 16.7 percent return on equity, while average companies just saw an 11.5 percent return. Evidence suggests that as female representation in government increases, their shared interests emerge, bringing about increased attention of issues affecting women. It also paves the way for more women to move up the ranks, as their predecessors break down many of the cultural and institutional biases still in existence. As the world grows ever more interconnected, talent is becoming increasingly mobile. With the exception of North America, regions throughout the world are experiencing a “brain drain,” in which educated women are emigrating at alarming rates in search of advancement opportunities. For example, in Africa alone, 27.7 percent of females with tertiary education emigrate 10 percent more than men.
What are the steps to be taken to preserve women rights to leadership?
An organization-wide culture shift is required to nurture an environment that is friendly to women and encourages their advancement. In reality, women are a critical national resource for economic growth .Women’s progress has vital implications for the health and growth of governments, companies, and nations. Both the private and public sectors must continue to nurture and advance diverse talent – including high-potential women – in order to stay competitive and grow.
According to Anne Weisberg who is the director of Deloitte Services LP in the United States, and one of the authors of the report, “While women have used individual strategies to achieve their ambitions, accelerating the advancement of women into positions of leadership in the government will require new organizational strategies led by those in senior positionsâ€¦ Among others steps, it will require organizations to establish metrics and accountability measures, focus on career development for women and promote work life integration.”
The insertion of women in the workforce is critically important to the economy. Research has shown that if you have women in leadership in a company, it performs better. The same is true for the public sector. In fact, having women in high levels of government according to Excellency Maha Nakib, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is important, but what’s more important is having women who can make a difference.
The United States Case:
In the United States, women are increasingly praised for having excellent skills for leadership and, in fact, women, more than men, manifest leadership styles associated with effective performance as leaders. Nevertheless, more people prefer male than female bosses, and it is more difficult for women than men to become leaders and to succeed in
Male dominated leadership roles. This mix of apparent advantage and disadvantage that women leaders experience reflects the considerable progress toward gender equality that has taken place in both attitudes and behavior, coupled with the lack of complete attainment of this goal.
United States, where women constitute 24% of the chief executives of organizations, 37% of all managers, and 43% of individuals in management, financial, and financial operations occupations (U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006,). Although no one would argue that gender equality has arrived or is even near at hand, such statistics reflect massive social change in women’s roles and opportunities.
Advantages mixed with disadvantages:
Alice H. Eagly argues in her book Psychology of Women Quarterly that research has established a mixed picture for contemporary female leadership. Women leaders on average manifest valued, effective leadership styles, even somewhat more than men do, and are often associated with successful business organizations. Attitudinal prejudice against women leaders appears to have lessened substantially, although even now there are more Americans who prefer male than female bosses. People say that they would vote for a woman for president; however, only slightly more than half of Americans indicate that the country is ready to have a female president. Because of the remaining prejudicial barriers, women face challenges as leaders that men do not face, especially in settings where female leaders are nontraditional.
Such signs of advantage mixed with disadvantage and trust mixed with distrust are contradictory only on the surface. They are manifestations of gender relations that have changed dramatically yet have not arrived at equality between the sexes.
Changes occurring in the 21st century:
Many women have contended successfully with barriers to their leadership, as shown by the fact that women now have far more access to leadership roles than at any other period in history. The inroads of women into positions of power and authority reflect many underlying changes (Eagly & Carli, 2003, in press)-above all, women’s high level of paid employment (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007) and a lessening of the time demands of women’s housework, accompanied by greater sharing of childcare and housework with husbands and partners (Bianchi, Robinson, & Milkie, 2006; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005). Associated with these shifts in roles is a large increase in women’s education, whereby young women have become more educated than young men (U. S. National Center for Education Statistics, 2005).
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Because these changes in employment and education are accompanied by psychological changes in the form of increasing agency in women (e.g., Twenge, 1997, 2001) and greater career ambition (e.g., Astin, Oseguera, Sax,&Korn,2002), women have achieved many more leadership positions than in the past. Women continue to encounter impediments to leadership within organizations, but many of these impediments can be removed or weakened by organizational changes designed to improve women’s (and minorities’) access to and success in leadership roles (e.g., Kalev, Dobbin,&Kelly, 2006; Rapoport, Bailyn, Fletcher,&Pruitt, 2002; Yoder, Schleicher, & McDonald, 1998).
On the other hand, the authors of Gender Equity or Bust! On the Road to Campus Leadership with Women in Higher Education argue that, “Born of a patriarchal tradition, higher education continues to marginalize women at every turn as students, administrators, faculty, and athletic leaders. Whether the bias is conscious or unconscious, women are being penalized consistently for their gender” (Wenniger and Conroy, 2001: 7)
However, taking into consideration the deep changes taking place in women’s roles and in the cultural explanation of good leadership, it is clear that women will continue their rise toward greater power and authority. The 20th-century shift toward gender equality has not ceased but is continuing” (Jackson, 1998). The presence of more women in leadership positions is one of the clearest indicators of this transformation.
Are women interested in political leadership?
“Women would not be equally represented in student government, much like they are not equally represented in the federal government, because they do not choose to run for office. One explanation is that women are not as interested in politics and government as men. The second explanation for not running for office could be that they do not believe they are qualified.” Ultimately, these findings show that further research in which female student government representatives, candidates and the student body electorate are asked specifically why women might not be running for office or getting elected would offer more insight into this gender division of leadership.
Gender and Leadership:
“When it comes to gender and leadership, one thing is clear. Women can be successful in leading both private and public sector organizations. Women corporate leaders face a special set of challenges due to the male dominated nature of these things. Because women are members of the lower status minority group, for them assimilation creates problems with cultural adaption, the inability to maintain a positive sense of identity, feelings of marginalization and isolation and increased exposure to harassment and other stressors. (Korabik, 1997)
What is the role of the media in all this?
An analysis of media discourses on women’s leadership, suggests the need for more nuanced ways of understanding women leaders identity formation that combine a range of macro and micro methodologies. It points to the importance of including an examination of both the specific organizational fields and the broader political, social and economic discourses of women’s leadership, as mediating influences on the construction of women’s leadership habits. It is our hoped that our study reveals the need for more complex ways of understanding women leaders’ identity formation and, in so doing, opens up productive spaces from which may flow subjugated knowledge of diverse women’s leadership.
Where is the female disadvantage?
“Our meta-analytic demonstration that women fare less well than men in male-dominated and masculine leadership roles identifies context-specific disadvantage (e.g., Eagly et al., 1995)-that is, in some leadership roles, women face obstacles that men do not face. If women who are in fact equal to their male counterparts are treated differently either in their access to male-dominated leader roles or in evaluations of their performance once they are in such roles, women would indeed face disadvantage as leaders. Such Disadvantage would be prejudicial, as defined by less favorable treatment of women than men, despite their objective equality (Eagly & Diekman, 2005) one place to look for evidence of prejudicial disadvantage is in studies of attitudes toward female and male leaders. Especially informative are national polls that have asked representative samples of respondents for evaluations of men and women as leaders. Such polls have consistently shown favoritism toward male over female leaders. For example, for many years, pollsters have asked people what they think about personally having a job in which a woman or a man has authority over them. The specific Gallup Poll question is “If you were taking a new job and had your choice of a boss, would you prefer to work for a man or woman?” These data show a preference for male bosses over female bosses, although this differential in favor of men has decreased substantially through the years.”
What are the female advantages?
Although revealing relatively small differences, findings indicate an advantage for women leaders. Women, more than men, appear to lead in styles that recommend them for leadership. In contrast, men, more than women, appear to lead in less advantageous styles by attending to subordinates’ failures to meet standards or by displaying behaviors that involve avoiding solving problems until they become acute and by being absent or uninvolved at critical times. What is clear from the meta-analysis is that women leaders, on average, exert leadership through behaviors considered appropriate for effective leadership under contemporary conditions.
Why might women and men display somewhat different leadership styles within the limits set by their leader roles?
Women are faced with accommodating the sometimes conflicting demands of their roles as women and their roles as leaders. In general, people expect and prefer that women be communal, manifesting traits such as kindness, concern for others, warmth, and gentleness and that man be agentic, manifesting traits such as confidence, aggressiveness, and self-direction (e.g., Newport, 2001; Williams and Best, 1990). Because leaders are thought to have more agentic than communal qualities (Powell, Butterfield, & Parent, 2002; Schein, 2001), stereotypes about leaders generally resemble stereotypes of men more than stereotypes of women. As a result, men can seem usual or natural in most leadership roles, thereby placing women at a disadvantage (Eagly &Karau, 2002; Heilman, 2001).
Consequences of prejudice toward female leaders:
Although prejudicial attitudes do not invariably produce discriminatory behavior, such attitudes can limit women’s access to leadership roles and foster discriminatory evaluations when they occupy such positions. Social scientists have evaluated women’s access to leadership roles through a large number of studies that implement regression methods.
Finally, women have different opinions and views and having just one woman does not mean all are represented. We need to take more action in order to ensure that leadership women who have the style and the personality of a leader are taking their chance and are being represented. Moreover in order to ensure this right, we should provide women with education because in educating a woman, you educate a community.
In the 21st century, many women are coming up in government and it’s really important to give them the mentorship they need to grow their careers and to motivate other women to act like them. This way, women will embrace a participative empowering consensus-building style of leadership and women will change the nature of power; power will not change the nature of women. (Bella Abzug, State of the World Forum, 1996)
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