Women in leadership positions in my organization face challenges that are indicative of the stereotypes women face in society. These stereotypes of women in charge are viewed as bossy, aggressive, and unfeminine. She is portrayed through the media as unattractive and often unfriendly. However, stereotypes are formed to convey inaccuracies about groups to evoke fear or uneasy feelings towards the target group and are not substantiated. Some hold the view that women should not occupy leadership positions or that she is incapable of running a team of people company altogether. As a result, this makes her feel inadequate and unqualified to fulfill her duties as a leader. Women who hold the title as leader in the workplace, put these stereotypes to rest through display of her abilities and how she interacts with those in her place of business.
By nature, women are nurturers and typically the ones to maintain the household and care for children. As society has changed and become accepting of women pursuing careers, she is often faced with the role of being a leader and a mother, if she has children. Then reality sets in as the two most important roles in her life are seemingly at conflict with one another. In some cases, women in leadership roles do not desire children because of the demands of their work (Elmuti, p.171-172, 2009). Other times, women quit their jobs and redirect their focus to being a full time mother. The women leaders at my place of work face these difficult yet rewarding milestones daily. She has to decide between a fulltime career and being a mother. Then, there are others who take the challenges as they come and decide that they will have both. Women in leadership make an excellent example to their children on how to achieve goals and demonstrate to them how it is possible to break barriers. Their roles are appropriate outside of the workforce.
Although much has changed overtime regarding the status of women in society, men still outnumber women in leadership roles (Hill, p.1, 2016). When race is added into the equation, the number of women from various cultures in leadership roles decline sharply. As of 2016, 27 percent of women make up Vice President, 23 percent Senior Vice President, and 17 percent chief executive officers (Zimmerman, p.1, 2016). The numbers are low as an overall view and dwindles based on the industry, age group, demographics, etc. These statistics further show how women face competition amongst their male counterparts. Women work harder to get promoted over longer periods of time. She has to constantly prove herself to show why she is worthy of taking charge. In the workplace she is viewed under a microscopic lens and everything about her becomes questionable, from her work attire, to her demeanor, work ethic, leadership style, etc.
Women overcome these challenges by continuing education that will give them knowledge and skills to show they are indeed capable and can take on multiple duties and still be successful. Women encourage each other to join local support groups or get involved in an affiliated program that teaches empowerment and equip women leaders to excel in the workplace. Women leaders also engage their employees to build relationships and dispel stereotypes associated with women in management positions by their conduct. Due to the genetic make-up of women, they are more likely to adapt to a transformational leadership role (Hill, p.5, 2016). She encourages and listens to her subordinates as well as their ideas while getting through barriers as a woman leader and while being a vital part of the company’s success.
- Elmuti, D., Jia, H. & Davis, H. (2009). Challenges Women Face In Leadership Positions and Organizational Effectiveness: An Investigation. Journal of Leadership Education, (8)2. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/45f7/fead4eafa2c0c5aa0ce8799b2cf0ddafc879.pdf.
- Hill, C. (2016). Barriers and Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership. American Association of University Women. Retrieved from http://www.aauw.org/aauw_check/pdf_download/show_pdf.php?file=barriers-and-bias.
- Piterman, H. (2008). The Leadership Challenge: Women in Management. Retrieved from https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2012/report_march08.pdf.