After a lovely Easter week off, it’s time to get back in the swing of things with our weekly look at a poignant self-development topic. This week has proven easy to pick a topic, with the news full of the fact that the only woman Prime Minister the UK has ever had, has died. Love her or hate her – and passions are high on both those axis – the fact remains that she made it to the top in what was, and still is, considered very much a man’s world. A product of her time, or have times changed in terms of female leadership? Womenomics: say the Hot Chilli company, is very much alive and well.
Margaret Thatcher was one of the toughest leaders of her time – but a leader she definitely was. So today, are women held back by factors like unequal pay and workplace sexism? Or are we opting out because we don’t apply, think we aren’t qualified, fear rejection, or concern for our family?
That’s the debate we are having this week. The current picture shows that the few who manage to penetrate the higher corporate levels must still be as hard as nails, sometimes even outdoing our male peers when it comes to aggressiveness. Do we really have to be more masculine than a man to make it to the top of our respective trees?
When the message conveyed to women is that to succeed in our careers we must adopt characteristics perceived as male and marked by men as “good”, while shedding characteristics identified as female and perceived as “not good” – do we internalise the idea that our psychological structure is less suitable for leadership and management? Feelings of inferiority can be very heavy weights to bear when climbing upward.
As long as this is the situation, the distance to true equality between men and women will still remain great.
Where do you see yourself in this debate? Do you consciously suppress female strengths to succeed or do you make a feature of them in the workplace? What results are you achieving by doing so?