Leadership and women

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Up to the twenty-first century, there was a maze of barriers for women seeking top leadership roles in the business world; the glass ceiling no longer exists. Women no longer face problems such as racial inequality and the perception that they should not have a role in leadership. However, the number of women in positions of power remains low. As a result, most women are discouraged from ascending to top leadership positions in businesses because they are not assertive. A lack of such quality manifests itself in a variety of ways, such as a refusal to trust in them. They do not perceive themselves as capable leaders and leave this responsibility to men. Also, they do not have a set of definite goals for their career life. As a result, they do not assertively take the path towards success. They sway with the tide of current situations in the workplace. In addition, they fail to differentiate personal life and professional work leading to failure at work. In some cases, women are not ambitious enough to go for top leadership in big companies and are afraid of facing the challenges associated with these positions (Smith, Crittenden, and Caputi, 2007).When faced with challenges at work, they do not face them with assertiveness. Most women resign from the positions of leadership when the going gets tough (Cook and Glass, 2016).

However, women can turn this trend around by taking a training course in time management and setting clear goals to achieve. Likewise, they can organise themselves into welfare associations for edifying each other and for assisting in networking in the corporate world (Wisestep, 2016).

_x000c_Women and Leadership


For many years in the US and all over the world, women have been experiencing many challenges in their quest for top leadership positions in the corporate world. As a matter of fact, women hold only a very small percentage of top executive positions in various institutions which is estimated at about 6 % (Carly and Eagly, 2007). Despite the fact that some women outshine men in leadership positions when they have a chance to make fortune, the number that dare to climb the leadership ladder is still relatively low worldwide. In the 20th century the existence of a glass ceiling and a labyrinth of obstacles have been held accountable for the exact number of women in leadership positions (Quast, 2012). In addition, the obstacles include: the perception that women do not have the appropriate leadership positions; gender prejudice in the society, and family demands on women (Cook and Glass, 2016).The perception insinuates that men are favored by the society over women for leadership positions. As a result, despite the challenges there are women who have defied odds. They have made great milestones in their career and can be emulated as role models to womenfolk.

Women Lack Assertiveness to Pursue Top Leadership

To start with, in the 21st century, the glass ceiling does not exist anymore. In addition, in most cases, women are accountable to their failure to obtain top executive jobs in various organizations. Most of women are not assertive enough to go for the positions (Martin, 2007). The lack of assertiveness is evident in many ways. For instance, in the work place, many women have not established the well-defined borders for their personal standards and integrity. Similarly, their career priorities are not well-developed (Caprino, 2012). Subsequently, most of them do not have a self-defined path or set of goals to act as guidance to them in the work place. Nevertheless, women equally make work related decisions without taking time to think of the future implications. As a result, their decisions are not taken seriously by their colleagues, and it is assumed that they can be swayed in any direction. On the same note, women do not have any personal brands at work. The items present the self-selected set of values that one chooses and nourishes to excellence so that they can help the person stand out. It is undeniable fact that the individuals are able to sell themselves as a unique personality. In this way, one is able to gain the ability to stand out due to the set of values with a competitive edge. Since most women have not established such personal brand, they do not stand competitive chance against their male counterparts. Additionally, many female employees are not firmly in their decisions. It is due to the lacking realization of self-worth (Carli & Eagly, 2007).


Most women suffer from self-doubt and fear of talking about their positive traits. It leaves females to rely on the compliments or criticism of colleagues who are not honest in most of the cases. Consequently, women are vulnerable because they can be easily talked out of accomplishing their dreams by people who do not want them to prosper in their careers. Owing to the overwhelming self-doubt and disbelief, women tend to compare themselves with peers in the organizations where they work (Smith, Crittenden, and Caputi, 2007). Such attempts to identify with children that have not achieved a lot in life are a major drawback on personal development among women. Furthermore, they result in their inability to strive to new levels in their careers. In most cases women end up stagnant at a given position in the workplace and remain contented as long as their colleagues are located in similar levels (Baker, 2014). Another intriguing observation is that women are not keen to learn lessons from the dynamics of corporate world to help them remain relevant. As a result, they are reluctant to adapt to new circumstances or to fit into changes. Additionally, women have always fallen short of the ability to identify new opportunities that can be utilized to their advantage (Baker 2014). In a similar manner, most women are not assertive because they do not work towards gaining the experience necessary to help them make wise decisions regarding opportunities (Waller and Lublin, 2015). Besides; women who have worked in a given organization for a long time get complacent and do not aspire to greater goals. In addition, they develop deep loyalty to their employer to leave (Waller and Lublin, 2015). This rigidity limits women_x0092_s opportunities for promotions.

Self-Identity and Women

Further, women have failed in the area of self-identity (Caprino, 2012). However, even in situations where they have made great breakthroughs; most of them do not talk about it in an attempt to assertively market themselves (Smith, Crittenden, and Caputi, 2007). In most situations, women tend to give the credit to the others by explaining how the others helped them to succeed. Therefore, they transfer their success and the opportunities it created to the other people who do not deserve it.


In the same spirit, women conform to the stereotypes in the society about their lesser role in leadership which in turn affect them (Cambridge Union Society, 2012). As a result, women fail to go for high positions of leadership our fear that the society will criticize them. Since they are not assertive, they settle for less competitive jobs that cannot inspire great leadership skills (Smith, Crittenden, and Caputi, 2007).

Most of the women never take time to question the oppressive norms the society that limits their opportunities. They just accept the stereotypes as the norm and live therein comfortably. Instead of focusing on their uniqueness as women, they compare themselves to men and try to emulate their style of leadership (Carli & Eagly, 2007). In addition, women are not just ambitious enough to go for the best in the corporate world. Since realization of dreams requires self-discipline and sacrifices, most of females are not ready to pay the price to become the best (Cambridge Union Society, 2012). At the other levels, women face self-imposed challenges in balancing family life and professional work. As such, they mix the two areas and end up as ineffective leaders.

Resilience is one of the greatest characteristic of successful leadership that women lack. When faced with a challenge at work they do not make enough efforts to solve the problem prudently (Cook and Glass, 2016). The fear factor also prevents women from going for very high positions, most of them have a defined (success point((Caprino, 2012). It is an upper limit of success that women set for themselves on how far they are willing to stretch their capabilities. It borders the fear of the unknown.


In addition, women need to focus on developing their unique female traits to help them excel in leadership skills (Baker, 2014). There is a need for the women to work on their personal character and acquire positive traits to make them assertive. Besides, they should set personal standards of integrity. It will help them stand firmly for the decisions they make (Martin, 2007). As a result, they will command respect from their colleagues. It is equally important for each woman to set well defined goals and work hard to achieve them fearlessly. In addition, women can form welfare organizations with other women in the work place which will assist in helping the members identify opportunities in the job markets and boost linkages. Likewise, it is an important tool in networking which helps in making deals with other players in the corporate world (Martin, 2007). It is equally important for the women to persistently go for their goals in life with great caution to be able to identify the challenges in the way and be able to look into the future through the analysis of current trends. Most importantly, women can use their talents, and they develop personal brands (extra ordinary skills set) which will help them in marketing themselves for better career prospects (Cook and Glass, 2016). As such women will develop decisive competencies and find their way to the upper limits of leadership positions. Women will be able to go out on their own and define own success paths (Martin, 2007; Quast, 2011). In order to avoid the mixing of personal and professional life issues, women should train in time management and master the art of delegation of duties. This will help them achieve more in life since a balance between family life and work leads to greater satisfaction and success for most women (Carli and Eagly, 2007).


Generally speaking, despite the previous barriers, women can turn the trend of gender around by taking a training course in time management and setting clear goals for themselves to achieve. In the situations where new opportunities arise, they can communicate within the groups and encourage one another to go after them. Additionally, the courses assist any women to acquire the skills to gain assertive traits such as courage and prudence in dealing with problems. Furthermore, women can become the best executive managers since they are naturally smarter than men and all they need to do is to assert their role so that they can shine.


Baker, C. (2014). Stereotyping and Women_x0092_s Roles in Leadership Positions. Industrial and Commerce Training, 46(6), pp. 332-337.

Cambridge Union Society (2012).This House Believes the Only Limit to Female Success Is Female Ambition. [online] Available at: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1229049. [Accessed 01 Jun. 2017].

Caprino, K. (2012).The Seven Most Common Ways Women Limit (and Sabotage) Their Success. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2012/10/23/the-7-most-common-ways-women-limit-and-sabotage-their-success/#47f2f396ffac [Accessed 01 Jun. 2017].

Carli, L. L. and Eagly, A. H. (2007).Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership. Harvard Business Review, 85(9), 63-71.

Cook, A. & Glass, C. (2016). Leading At the Top: Understanding Women's Challenges above the Glass Ceiling. The Leadership Quarterly, 27(1), 51_x0096_63.

Martin, S. (2007). The Labyrinth to Leadership. American Psychological Association, 38(7), 90-91.

Quast, L. (2011). Is There Really a Glass Ceiling for Women? [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2011/11/14/ is-there-really-a-glass-ceiling-for-women/(55f941f37dae [Accessed 01 Jun. 2017].

Quast, L. (2012). Find Your Inner Pageant Queen to Excel in Your Career. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2012/06/04/ find-your-inner- pageant queen-to-excel-in-your-career/(5487c4754012 [Accessed 01 Jun. 2017].

Quast, L. (2012). Rules for Women to Climb the Career Ladder. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/siteslisaquast/2012/06/11/rules-for-women-to-climb-the-career-ladder/(2981815f4680 [Accessed 01 Jun. 2017].

Smith, P., Crittenden, N., and Caputi, P. (2012). Measuring Woman_x0092_s Beliefs About Glass Ceiling: Development of the Career Pathways Survey. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 27 (2), pp. 66-80.

Waller, N. and Lublin, J. (2015). What_x0092_s Holding Women Back in the Work Place. [online] Available at: Retrieved http://www.wsj.com/articles/ whats-holding- women-back-in-the-work-place-1443600242 [Accessed 01 Jun. 2017].

Wisestep (2016). Women in the Workplace Issues and Challenges. [online] Available at: http://content.wisestep.com/ women-in-the-workplace-issues-and-challenges [Accessed 01 Jun. 2017].

November 09, 2022

Culture Business


Identity Management

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21St Century Woman Leadership

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