3 Challenges to Women's Leadership

Being a female leader in a male-dominated field comes with some extra challenges and opportunities. Today I want to talk a little about the challenges that women face.

First, the challenges.

1. You are working against systems that were set-up with the male work trajectory. Meaning that most of our systems do not know how to accommodate, managing children’s’ schedules, not being the primary provider, or running most of the household tasks.

2. You are working against a masculine template. Meaning that people envision masculine qualities for your leadership position. This goes from the superficial to the deeper. For example, women often get comments about their clothes, voice, and appearance because they do not match the masculine template.

3. Women are often placed in a double bind. People will want you to lead and be an authority, but if you do that too well, then it becomes negative. (i.e., women are supposed to lead with authority, but often run up against the stereotype of being too bossy or b**chy; women are supposed to be nurturers but are then considered weak)

These are all challenge areas that women leaders in male-dominated fields will need to carefully. This is where women often get into trouble. They enter a system and fail to recognize that their very presence is causing a disruption to the organization. What this means is that:

1. Women are probably going to need to lead change at a slower pace than their male counterparts.

2. Women are creating an environment that has the potential to bring deeper and lasting change to the environment.

The key is being both aware and strategic about the level of change you are introducing to your organization.

Which challenge is currently causing you the most frustration?

Erin ReibelComment