Why We Don’t Have Enough Female Leaders

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Why We Don’t Have Enough Female Leaders

Why We Don’t Have Enough Female Leaders

Why we don’t have enough female leaders and what you can do about it.

It was 12.45pm and Amanda was putting on the finishing touches to her interview outfit; that was the best power suit attire that she could muster up in her wardrobe with a killer combination of natural-looking makeup. She was almost ready to tackle the gut-wrenching challenge of putting her best on show for the leadership role she had dreamt of for years.

There were several things going through her head at this point and reaching deep into her memory bank for inspiration, Amanda thought, “think about a leader you aspire to”.

Pondering over this for a moment, a few familiar names and faces came to mind – Richard Branson for his passion to share his dreams with the world, lead by example and remain so grounded; Barrack Obama for his ability to break through barriers and to have led the free nation, all while remaining a well-publicised family man; and Bono for his vision and enthusiasm for making the world a better place and using his talent as a way to break through.

But one thing blatantly missing Amanda’s brain manifest was an inspirational woman! Why was this so?

We’ve uncovered a few fundamentals of how and where the world falls short of female leaders, and what you can do as a female to stand out amongst an often male-dominated spectroscope. We’ll discuss more about it in this article.

It seems since the dawn of time, men have been the defined leaders of “mankind”. It took until 1895 for women in our own country to be recognised worthy enough to have their say in our democratic society, when South Australia became the first state to open the voting polls to women. It was not until 1943 when women were elected into Federal Parliament in Australia. And the battle for male/female equal rights has continued globally for years. Only just this week it was announced that women in Saudi Arabia will officially be allowed to drive in 2018. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where it is still not officially acceptable for a woman to be behind the wheel, however, there are many other constraints on what is acceptable for women all over the world.

Customs and traditions aside, for those women who are eager to break through the gender equality iceberg and explore the opportunity of becoming a powerful force, they must first learn how to reproportion themselves against men.

There are some bare-bone essentials that women in leadership roles commonly share, however through their rarity they are part of the very reason why we see an overarching number of males in leadership positions.

According to Facebook’s COO, Sherly Sandburg, in a recent TEDWomen Talk, she shed some light on why she sees women falling second-best to men in leadership roles;

  1. Women often underestimate their own ability
  2. Women fail to negotiate for themselves in the workplace
  3. Women tend to attribute their own success to external influences and resources, as opposed to men who attribute to themselves

To lead successfully in any role, a woman must find the motivation to actually lead before others will recognise and encourage those efforts. Gender aside, a leader needs to put aside any external influences holding them back and concentrate on getting the basics right. This applies to any form of leadership role, whether in a sporting endeavour, in the workplace, or even calling the shots in a covert government mission.

Based on Sheryl Sandburg’s points above, following are three ways women can look at getting ahead as a leader.

#1 Don’t underestimate oneself

As the best judge of what you are capable of, you alone know what you can achieve. If you set your sights on a challenge at the top, then work hard and go for it. Perseverance and persistence is key to any task.

#2 Learn how to negotiate

Negotiation comes second to none to a leader. To get where you want to go, you also need to learn how to negotiate your way through obstacles, doubts and pessimism. Use staff appraisals as a perfect time to negotiate your worth; write down your strengths with examples and get ready to challenge the negative with ways you could combat those factors moving forward. Negotiation is a good way to show confidence in yourself.

#3 Take the credit where credit is due

We get there is no ‘i’ in team, however, when you have done something that has made a positive impact on an outcome, there is also nothing wrong in taking a little credit where it is due. If you made the decision and you directed the call, then you are ultimately responsible for the outcome.

You can’t expect to become an influential leader by settling for second-best. Educate yourself, learn to be noticed for what you excel at, and get ready to lead when the time is right.

If you are an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure you offer gender diversity in the workplace. If you would like assistance in conducting a gap analysis please contact us. We specialise in identifying and analysing the causes of any pay gaps in your workplace.


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I am a Mum, business founder, author and accomplished CEO with over 20 years’ experience in the corporate world. My childhood dream was to become a fighter pilot, but when that didn’t materialise, I found my place in the corporate world, climbing the sales and marketing ladder to my role as CEO of Cox & Kings Australia.

I'm the founder of Empowering Ambitious Women, I've led start-ups to companies with annual revenues from $55 million to more than $250 million. My role as CEO of Australia’s leading franchise network of professional builders saw me as a pioneer in the industry; as a female CEO leading a large franchise home building company.

I was formally recognised twice by the Telstra Business Women's Awards my achievements in business.

As a woman who became one of the 16% of female CEOs, and who has led in male-dominated industries, I’m passionate about creating pathways for women leaders to step up, take a seat at the table and own it.

I love; French champagne, socialising, dining out and having an impact...

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