The world was unable to foresee women taking leadership in certain sectors such as high tech. The BBC recently published an article about GCHQ setting up an all-female cyber-training classes to recruit a wider number of people; increasing the level of interest, especially for female security experts. Have you ever heard of Bumble? It is a dating app where women have to make ‘the first move’. Bumble was created by a co-founder of Tinder, Whitney Wolfe and confirmed the app as feminist; to take the pressure of the man for once and let the woman lead instead. Wolfe has been swiping right ever since.
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Throughout the years, women needed to prove their self-worth and authority because they were ‘not good enough’ but now they are finally finding their voice and building their confidence. In fact, I noticed a change in films as well: Bumblebee, not only a female protagonist (Charlie) but heroine who has a ‘side-chick’ rather than, what we can classify as, a love interest. The creators even gave the main character a unisex name, which can be perceived as a coincidence.
Stefano Gabbana body-shames Selena Gomez by calling her UGLY – June 2018. She responded by wearing a pin of the word ‘UGLY’ at a fashion show.
Women have now turned ‘constructive criticism’ or ‘criticism’ into a positive; reinventing the language. Women have done their part, but companies need to do their part too; i.e. focusing on the pay gap.
Three-quarters of women lack confidence in the workplace, according to HR in The Boardroom. This survey showed that women feel nervous while asking for a pay rise and speaking in front of people. The little voice in our heads that we are born with sometimes doesn’t help but women can now gain the critical leadership capabilities to climb that ‘corporate ladder’ and excel.
If you remember, in 1920, there was a woman named Amelia Earhart who was the first woman to pilot a plane alone. Although the flight only lasted 10 minutes, it was a historical moment and changed the direction of her life. Her dream was to become a pilot, and in those 10 minutes, that dream finally came true. During that period, it was obscene to see a woman being so hard working, going against the status quo and developing key skills. However, the skills did not make her the woman she was, confidence did; the will to fight for the impossible.
The confidence mindset is boosting these days: love and trust yourself. Women can take every opportunity even if they are incompetent. They are no longer threatened by being penalized because they are no longer alone. In fact, confidence and support are a key to climb the ‘corporate ladder’.
The world is evolving, and women are not as behind as they use to be especially in leadership. According to Forbes, 26 women are in CEO roles which is 5.2% of the female population. Valerie Martinelli says: “Hone the skills necessary to give you those opportunities, such as your communication skills, leadership development, and emotional intelligence. Raise your hand in meetings”.
What is happening now?
We probably need to start changing the way we think about the word ‘leadership’. It is not about the position itself but you.
London is now on a multi-national scale and offices have people of all ages and backgrounds, but people need to understand what ‘leadership’ means. Is it: intelligence, making a difference or creating challenges/opportunities? We all have skills to become a leader but implementing them is the key; not proving. How would you define leadership?
According to Catalyst: Workplaces that work for women, “there are more women on UK boards than ever before”. Although the percentage of women in a leadership role remains low, it slightly rose by 22% in 2018.
Men have been in charge for so long and it is their natural attribute. They have suited skill sets to be leaders and maybe the world is not ready to see women in certain positions. Women have the ability to build their confidence and communication but have to overcome self-doubt or challenging pitfalls. We all have the willingness to persevere and get what we want, so make it happen.
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