Women in Leadership 10 Tips for Overcoming Challenges and Discrimination

Women in Leadership: 10 Tips for Overcoming Challenges and Discrimination

Women in Leadership: 10 Tips for Overcoming Challenges and Discrimination
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    by Sara J. Baker, Ed.D.

    “That’s not how we expect women to act in leadership meetings.”

    That’s how my boss tried to explain that I needed to stop being so vocal in meetings with the CEO. I was shocked. I had been working my way up the corporate ladder for years and had never been told to change my behavior in meetings before. The blatant sexism was a wake-up call.

    It’s no secret that the workplace can be a difficult environment for women. We’re constantly having to prove ourselves, whether it’s by being more assertive or by bringing in more business. And when we do succeed, we’re often written off as “lucky” or “in the right place at the right time.”

    Bias Against Women in Leadership

    Bias against female leaders is a real problem, and it’s one that we need to start talking about. We need to create an environment where women can succeed without having to constantly prove themselves.

    So how do we do that?

    First, we need to be aware of the bias against female leaders. It’s easy to brush off comments or incidents as “not a big deal,” but we need to start calling out sexism and discrimination when we see it. Second, we need to stand up for ourselves and each other. If we don’t speak up, the bias will continue unchallenged. Finally, we need to be allies to each other. We need to create a supportive network of women who can help each other succeed.

    The workplace is slowly changing, but we still have a long way to go. Let’s start by acknowledging the bias against female leaders and taking action to change it.

    Studies have shown that women in leadership positions are often judged more harshly than their male counterparts. We’re held to higher standards and have to work twice as hard to be seen as competent.

    If we want to see more women in leadership positions, we need to create a more inclusive and supportive environment. We need to be allies to each other and stand up against workplace discrimination. Only then can we hope to achieve true gender equality.

    Differences in Leadership Styles

    Leadership is a male-dominated field. And that’s a problem. Not just for women who want to enter the field, but for society as a whole. Male leaders have been shown to be more likely to take risks, which can lead to success but can also lead to disastrous outcomes. They’re also more likely to display aggressive behavior and less likely to display traits like empathy and cooperation. This isn’t to say that all men are bad leaders, but the data shows that there’s a significant gender imbalance when it comes to leadership.

    This imbalance has consequences for women who want to enter the field of leadership. In many workplaces, they face discrimination and bias at every turn, whether it’s overt or covert. They constantly have to prove themselves, often having to work twice as hard as their male counterparts. And they deal with everyday sexism, whether it’s being mansplained or having their ideas ignored in meetings. It’s no wonder that so few women pursue leadership roles.

    But it’s important to fight against this discrimination because women make great leaders.

    We bring a different perspective to the table and we’re more likely to cooperate and empathize with others. Leadership styles for women are often more effective than those of our male counterparts and many of these differences are based on differences between the male and female brains. We’re also more likely to take a long-term view, something that’s essential in today’s ever-changing world.

    How to Make Change Happen: A Two-Step Approach

    So to make change happen, we need two things to happen: first, more women need to enter the field of leadership and second, we need to be better allies to each other.

    If you’re a woman who’s considering a leadership role, don’t let the fear of discrimination or bias stop you. You have what it takes to be a great leader. And if you’re already in a leadership role, use your position to support other women. Be an advocate for change and help create a more inclusive environment for everyone.

    The future of gender equality in the workplace is bright, but we need to keep fighting for it. Only then will we see true change happen.

    Tips to Be an Ally for Women in the Workplace

    So how can you be an ally to women in leadership?

    Here are some tips:

    1. Speak up when you see sexism or bias against women.

    2. Encourage women to pursue leadership roles.

    3. Mentor and support women in leadership positions.

    4. Advocate for policies that promote gender equality in the workplace.

    5. Educate yourself and others about the benefits of having more women in leadership positions.

    6. Be a role model for other women.

    7. Challenge stereotypes about women and leadership.

    8. Support businesses and organizations that are led by women.

    It’s time for a change. It’s time for more women in leadership positions. We have the skills and the ability to lead. We just need the opportunity to do so. Let’s fight discrimination and bias and create a more equal world.

    Women in Leadership | 10 Tips for Overcoming Challenges and Discrimination

    Be Fearless, Woman

    If you’re a woman who wants to enter the field of leadership, don’t be discouraged. You have what it takes to succeed. Here are some tips for how to deal with the challenges you’ll face:

    1. Believe in yourself. The first step is believing that you can do it. You may have to work twice as hard as your male counterparts, and as much as this is bullsh*t, it is often currently what we have to do.

    2. Stay motivated. It’ll be tough at times, but remember why you’re doing it. You have the potential to make a real difference in the world.

    3. Be an ally to other women. Support other women who are trying to enter leadership roles. Help them believe in themselves and fight against discrimination. Support each other and lift each other up. We’re all in this together.

    4. Be fearless. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it because you’re a woman. You can and you will. Show them what you’re made of. Being fearless doesn’t mean we don’t have doubts or that we don’t get scared. It means that despite all of those things, we still go for it. We persevere with passion.

    5. Speak up. When you see discrimination or bias against you or others, speak up. Your voice can help make change happen. What can you say in the moment? Not everybody is comfortable getting into a heated argument or debate with somebody, and that’s okay. Sometimes simply saying “That’s not cool” or “I don’t like it when you talk to me like that” can be enough to make the other person realize that their behavior is not okay.

    6. Fight for change. The system is unfair, but you can fight to change it. Work to create a more inclusive environment in your workplace and beyond. If you work in HR or have influence in your organization, use that power to effect change. Advocate for policies that promote gender equality.

    7. Educate yourself and others about the benefits of having more women in leadership positions. Research shows that businesses with more diversity perform better. When people understand this, they’re more likely to support change.

    8. Be a role model. There are so few women in leadership positions, which means we have an extra responsibility to be role models for other women. Show them what’s possible. Help them believe in themselves.

    9. Cultivate a supportive network of other women leaders. Find mentors, colleagues, and friends who will support and inspire you. Check out our leadership cohorts to get started!

    10. Be patient. Change takes time, but it will happen if we keep fighting for it.

    Women in Leadership | 10 Tips for Overcoming Challenges and Discrimination

    We Can Make a Difference for Women in Leadership

    It’s no wonder that so many women end up leaving leadership positions. The bias and discrimination can be soul-crushing. But we can’t give up and accept the status quo. We have to keep fighting for change.

    The future of gender equality in the workplace is bright. We’re making progress, but there’s still a long way to go. If we keep fighting for change, we’ll get there eventually. And when we do, it’ll be a better world for everyone. Let’s create a world that is more equal and just for everyone.

    The fight for gender equality is an ongoing one. And it’s one that we need to continue to fight until we achieve true equality. We can make a difference. We can change the world. Let’s do this.

    What are your thoughts on gender equality in the workplace? Share them with us on our LinkedIn page!

    Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

    About the Author

    Dr. Sara Baker is a thought leader in the area of positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees face every day.

    Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

    When she's not helping others learn how to lead successful lives, Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends on her farm in Texas.

    Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

    About the Author

    Dr. Sara Baker is a thought leader in the area of positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees face every day.

    Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

    When she's not helping others learn how to lead successful lives, Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends on her farm in Texas.

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