First of all, if you read the title, I want to clarify that as a cis white man I could never imagine the challenges and intricacies that a female professional could have endured during her life and career. I can say that as a pansexual person I know a thing or two about discrimination, but again, that does not qualify me to attest for the experience of a woman.
You might have already guessed it: this article is not about mansplaining how to become a successful female leader, what I wanted to explain is the current developments on female leadership references around the world and how that might be impacting younger professionals.
You might have notice that in the past recent years there has been a moderate surge of female leaders at least within media attention range (has a tree fallen if no one was there to hear it… and all that stuff). This has, of course, being received very positively by the mainstream opinion and it gives visibility to a list of references which can inspire younger female professionals.
Now the question remains: is it working? I reckon it might be too early to say and even if we had empirical data it would still not be relevant enough to describe the actual effect. What are the facts? The facts are that despite of this surge in positive references we still have a low rate of acceptance for female leadership around the world. You might not be surprised to hear that there is only a 35% of acceptance of female leadership in Japan, but what if I told you that in Germany, a country which has elected a female prime minister for years, has only a 40% acceptance rate? Appalling isn’t it?
Having visible references around the world is a great thing and it helps showing possibilities that in the past one could only imagine. Unfortunately, visible references go both ways, they can be a positive motivation, or they can be a discouraging factor. Being in the media focus means that there is nor margin for error and since there is still little female leadership representation, the error of one individual becomes magnified. So does that mean that we just need even more references? Whilst that might help I reckon, like with everything, the solution comes from the base.
Our younger generations. Schools should teach children the value of diversified references. Schools should normalise female leadership and should apply a greater percentage of time of female representation than male in order to speed up this process. Parents should be involved too. Children’s circumstances come from both schools and their home. Ideally a collaboration between parents and schools should work towards this project in order to guarantee that there is a wave of new female leaders who will develop their careers without the biases of a male-dominant world.
I am going to stop for a second now. I am well aware the utopia I am describing and how challenging will be to educate households with different cultural backgrounds (and when I say cultural I never mean nationality or race). What I am talking about is a process which might be long but that will always have to begin from the base. Older generations will drift in time and newer generations will come with a fresher view which will inspire new generations and so on.
After this reflexion I wanted to say that I welcome any feedback and comments. I am very keen on been educated into understanding better the intricacies of female leadership.
I hope you have a lovely month of March and remember that you can follow me on Instagram where I share tips and where you can see my happy pug face 🙂