Almost 52 percent of professional jobs in the world are held by women in America, one of the most progressive societies in the world. However, there is a very small number of women in leadership roles. Only 14.6% women hold executive positions, and only 8.1 percent are top earners. So how do we empower a female leader to create the right domino effect?
For starters, you enlist more women in your leadership program. You identify emerging leaders from within your mix and give them added incentives to work better. You also coach and mentor them, so they know they can come to you with any issues they face. By trusting their capabilities and giving them the right confidence, you can finally create women who are stars of their domain.
What Holds Women Back to Chase Leadership Positions?
It is not that women do not want to be top earners and do not want to live a life of luxury and peace. It is that women are often discouraged to chase their dreams and reach the top. Here are some things that hold women back.
Norms and values that dictate culture and treat women as inferior beings.
- Gender stereotyping that states that women make poor leaders.
- Structural barriers that hinder the growth of women and do not let them reach the top.
- Non-assertive personality traits of women that often hinder their progress.
- Historical narratives that believe in the superiority of men’s leadership.
- Biological factors like menstruation and pregnancy that make women a relatively poorer choice.
What Are the Characteristics of an Empowered Female Leader?
1. Confidence to Be Themselves
Women have always been put in cages; always told that they can not speak a certain way, dress a certain way and act a certain way. However, confident women are not scared of society. They are not trying to align themselves with societal standards. They are carefree and can make decisions of their own accord. This is what separates them from the crowd.
2. No Guilt for Prioritizing Work
Working women are shamed for not being ‘good mothers’ or ‘good housewives’. In most Asian and conservative societies, working women are looked down upon and there are many myths associated with them. However, empowered women know that their worth does not come from the work they do in their houses; it comes from how much they contribute to society in general.
3. Embracing the Good and the Bad
Empowered women do not claim to be perfect, and neither do they champion perfectionism in any gender. Instead, they accept all the pros and cons associated with womanhood in all their entirety. These women are not delusional about their successes and are both humble and reliable. They actively seek to improve themselves so that they can act to influence others.
4. Trusting Their Instincts
Women feel empowered when society respects them and validates their behavior. However, other women do not need any validation and inherently feel empowered. In both these types of women, one thing is common. These women trust their instincts and respond positively to their gut feeling. This is not to say that they do not rely on data or statistics.
5. Taking Challenges Heads On
Empowered women do not have a laid-back attitude. They know their worth and know their skill set. This is why they take on difficult challenges and try to make a difference in society. This is why most women adopt a transformational leadership style.
How to Empower a Female Leader?
Whether you are running an organization or a company, you must empower your female leaders. This will help grow your company and ensure women within your space feel empowered and give in their all. Here are a couple of ways to empower a female leader.
1. Understanding the Status Quo
People who do not see a problem with the status quo can not hope to fix the status quo. Before empowering anyone, you need to be aware of the problems faced by women leaders today. Carry out your surveys within your organization. This will highlight what women in your organization experience. Moreover, you can also read online research papers to know why female leaders feel hesitant when taking on challenges.
2. Realizing the Potential of Empowered Female Leaders
Once you have identified the problems with the status quo, it is your job to also realize the potential of empowered female leaders. If you only make policies because others are doing so, or you want to hold the moral high ground, you will not be able to make much of a difference. Before empowering anyone, it is essential that you know the worth of empowered female leaders and what they can bring to the table.
3. Creating Avenues for Women’s Development
Your job is not only to empower females who are already in leadership positions. It is also your job to identify emerging leaders within your ranks and give them avenues for development. Conduct training workshops and seminars to educate women in your offices. Moreover, create separate spaces for women where they have all the liberty to bond with each other and grow as a separate community within an organization. This will help them mobilize in the future.
4. Encouraging Mentorship and Collaboration
Empowered leaders can mentor and train others and enhance their progress. However, this requires a conscious effort on the part of leadership. If you want to build confidence in new female leaders, make sure you work closely with them, and help them know the ins and outs of the business. Teach them how to handle crises. When you give them the liberty to exercise control in a safe environment, you are inadvertently also training them to excel at leadership roles.
5. Taking the Pressure Off
Leaders should be able to take the pressure that comes along with leadership roles. However, when you bombard leaders with a lot of tasks and expect them to never make mistakes, it creates an environment of fear and intimidation. Female leaders are not able to learn through trial and error. So if you want to empower female leaders, make sure you do it by giving them some freedom and liberty to make errors and then learning from them.
6. Creating a Non-toxic Environment
A lot of women face structural and non-structural barriers while doing their jobs. Tangible and obvious barriers can be removed through good and equitable HR policies. However, things like casual stereotyping or bullying are not fixed easily. As head of an organization, you need to ensure that female leaders in your ranks are given their due respect and not judged on their gender.
Also read: How good leadership can cure a toxic workplace?
7. Validating and Acknowledging Their Efforts
Imagine two people completing the same task with the same amount of vigor. In most societies, the man will be given his due encouragement and will be credited for his work. However, women are not so lucky. They will often have to do with a simple nod or no praise at all. To instill confidence in young female leaders, you must acknowledge their efforts and make them know that they are valued.
8. Ensuring Women Are Not Shamed for Choosing Differently
As the head of an organization, you may not be able to bring about this change; it will require a societal transformation. Most women are shamed when they prefer work to marriage, or when they prefer promotions to have kids at home. However, to facilitate and incentivize women to choose leadership positions, you need to ensure that women are celebrated, regardless of whatever they chose to do with their lives.
Why the Society Needs More Empowered Female Leaders?
1. Path to a More Empathetic Workplace
Women are known to be more compassionate and show a greater amount of empathy towards their fellows. They also have a greater emotional quotient, which allows them to understand others and help others fix their issues.
2. Helps Create Tangible Change for Society
Since women make for a marginalized group of people, you will see these women uplifting other women and minorities and helping them reclaim their space in the modern world. This is why many women adopt a transformational leadership style.
3. Helps Create a Domino Effect
Imagine a small village with only a handful of working women. Now imagine one of these women reaching the top and becoming a leader in the community. What effect would this have on the hundreds of other women? It would inspire them to break shackles and aim for the top.
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In these short conferences, you will meet empowered women from all over the world. Women who have broken shackles in their society and have dared to stand up for their rights.
A society that only tends to empower one group of people while completely ignoring the other is a society that can never thrive. To create empowered individuals, society needs to change from within. It needs institutional as well as structural transformation.
From organizations to individuals, everyone has to play their part to empower women in their vicinity. When women find their voice, they can make better decisions not just for themselves, but for the rest of society.
What Are the Personal Challenges Faced by Empowered Women?
Empowered women help bring change in society, but at what cost? These women undergo many challenges. They have to go against the norms of society, listen to people mock them, and abuse them at every turn. Moreover, these women have to work to break societal barriers and overcome structural barriers that have been placed by society to indoctrinate women.
How Do You Promote Women’s Leadership?
To promote women’s leadership, you need to build confidence in women from a young age. Next, you have to promote agency among them, so they can build a life for themselves without having to look at society at every turn. On top of that, you must recruit new female leaders who can help bring change.
What Makes an Effective Female Leader?
Effective leadership is the ability to transform society, inspire long-term change, and building a profitable business. Women often make very effective leaders because of their innate ability to dream big and follow their passion.