Bridging the Gender Gap in Leadership

Glass CeilingExecutive positions in the public sector—just like the private sector—are predominately populated by males.

That’s not new news. There are plenty of statistics to support that. In fact, there’s also plenty of research showing why women would actually be better choices for leadership positions.

So the question is: why aren’t more women getting appointed to those higher-up positions?

For one, although our world and culture are ever evolving, there are people living in a 1950s mindset who will exercise discrimination and be a lifetime member of the “Good Ol’ Boy” club.

Thanks to that way of thinking, there’s a lingering stigma placed on women bosses. If they’re nice, they’re pushovers; and if they’re stern, they’re called hormonal and a few choice words that I can’t repeat.

Despite discrimination, there’s still a lack of knowledge on how women can successfully earn genuine respect in the workplace, which will ultimately position them to be placed into roles of leadership.

  1. Have a voice and use it wisely.
    You have an opinion, so say it when you need to. Idly sitting through every meeting is the last thing that will get you noticed.
  1. Be confident.
    Even though a woman might not be confident in her physical appearance, she must be confident about your skills. Realize that you can do the job just as well as anyone else, and don’t start second-guessing that when the pressure is on. Never be afraid to take on the hard tasks.
  1. Know the difference between passionate and emotional.
    It’s okay to be passionate about an issue—that’s what drives you to do your best. But being emotional is when you take those issues a bit too personally and start making decisions based on how you feel rather than what you know. Women are already perceived as being too emotional. Don’t feed into the stereotype.
  1. Be vocal about your career plans.
    Make your goals clear. You don’t want to get overlooked for a promotion simply because no one knew you wanted it.

Women are different than men, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Use those differing traits to your advantage, and you’ll be one step closer to breaking the glass ceiling.

Hope Boyd
Written by:
Hope Boyd
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources

One response

  1. When I was a teenager, I was baptized by a female Pastor. I was too naive to understand the significance of a female Pastor being the head of a large church (by the standards of the 60’s) in the deep South!

    Now here we are many (ok, so many, many) years later, female leadership in C-level positions is still looked at as an aberration in many circles.

    The golden rule says, “…he who has the gold makes the rules…” so until that changes (meaning the rule makers), women in our society will constantly hit that glass ceiling.

    No matter how much we push back, the world has evolved ( and continues to evolve) into a global economy and society. That means different looking people want different looking people (read that as people who look like them) staring at them across the boardroom table.

    You are so correct in the approach women must take to continue to chip away at the glass ceiling.

    And when you used the words “lingering stigma” the first thing that popped into my mind was “lingerie stigma” and boy is that the truth!

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