The number of women in leadership roles is steadily increasing, with seeing the female representation of board members in UK companies higher than ever, 2018 seeing a slight increase in the number of women holding positions in senior leadership.
However, this push in the right direction doesn’t eliminate the many challenges that have to be faced on a daily basis by female leaders. No matter the industry, role, or the size of the business, challenges come in at a rapid rate.
Here are four of the most common challenges that female leadership face when trying to be successful in their chosen industry:
Gender Bias in the Workplace: It’s not always conscious nor is it always spoken, but there is still an evident gender bias in the workplace. This is a problem that goes both ways, women don’t always champion what they hope to achieve, and men don’t stop or take time to realise that they’re following through on decisions that affect women’s careers or family life without consulting them, or with assumptions made.
The higher number of men in leadership positions also leave women outnumbered; they don’t have the same level of support system and it’s harder to find strong female mentors in most fields, the much discussed old boys club, however it’s not all resistive women can get there!
Growing a Business: For the leaders of any organisation, growing a business is a key strategic goal, yet for women, it can be much more of a challenge. Developing business relationships and securing financing can be more difficult in male-dominated industries, extra efforts must be made to network and build relationships, be bold and reach out to people, in person is always better, don’t ever let a man think they ever have any hope of a romantic relationship. It can be difficult for women leaders to construct the kind of partnerships that it takes to develop and expand a business and manage time efficiently to get everything done.
The Stigma Attached to Female Leaders: Perhaps the biggest issue that female leaders face is the stigma that has long been attached to women in leadership positions. Everything from ‘women are too emotional to be leaders’ to ‘women struggle to maintain a work-life balance’ or you must “play the man” she is “a cold bitch” can present a challenge for any female leader before they have even started their first day on the job.
These stigmas run deep, and this challenge is not something that can easily be overcome; the preconceptions must instead be proven wrong by the ongoing success of female leaders. Be sure of who you or are working to be and don’t let other people make you waiver.
Staying Confident : The very challenges that women leaders have to face are the cause of one of the most difficult challenges to overcome – stay confident. Recent research has revealed that employers believe that men are fundamentally more ambitious, yet I believe women are in fact more ambitious working to have a successful home and work life, being adaptable to their environments and able to excel despite with the pressure of several roles within their sphere.
Leaders need to be confident, it’s an undeniable element of leadership, so it’s down to women to make sure that their voices are always heard, even in a boardroom dominated by men.
Leadership isn’t gender-exclusive, it’s a collection of strong traits and skills, that any man or woman can hold.
While there are plenty of challenges involved in being a female leader, there are also plenty of ways to overcome them!
I am Women, Whats your Super Power?
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