On the 8th March to celebrate International Women’s day it is appropriate to give credit to the many female Heads of State, CEO’s, Founders, Mothers and Grandmothers. How interesting that the world has a strong representation of female leaders, 22 countries in total including New Zealand, Denmark, Bangladesh, Lithuania, Taiwan and Norway are all led by inspirational women. This is quite a sizeable representation of women in top leadership positions, some in countries that are culturally showing more masculine than feminine qualities according to the Hofstede model of Intercultural sensitivity. It is irrelevant what you think about them, but the fact is these female and other female leaders are running governments, countries and businesses in what can only be termed troubled and challenging times. In all fairness our male leaders are not exempt from the turbulence affecting everyone across the globe.
Erna Solberg of Norway has been Prime Minister since 2013. Greece’s President, Katerina Sakellaropoulou has been in office since March 2020, and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in office since October 2017. These and many other women are demonstrating both success at achieving the position as well as longevity in the position.
What are the principle characteristics of female leadership?
Can we characterize these principles and definitively separate them from the principles of male leadership? Unlikely, because styles of leadership differ amongst men and women equally depending on education, experience, courage, individuality, stamina and so on. However, when looking at women and men, there are differences and when women bring these differences into play, we might see a broader range of characteristics, showing feminine power. Many of which come naturally to women. Again, I don't want to say that men do not display some or all these characteristics and vice versa, but men usually display a more masculine power through male characteristics and therefore the following are more common in women, especially in female leaders.
Common female characteristics:
- Intuitive and sensitive, demonstrating fluid emotional intelligence
- Ability to sense the emotion as well as see the facts in order to make decisions on both factual/logical and emotional levels
- Goal achievement through perseverance and vision, but not at the cost of others
- Patience and tolerance, promoting harmony and understanding
- The ability to encourage and nurture to reveal hidden potential of those who are unable to stand up for themselves
- Ability to forgive, let go, learn and grow
- Fosters an environment of trust, cooperation and harmony
- Quiet drive, courage and resilience, as opposed to power and strength
- Ability to release own emotions to relieve tension and break stress often through crying, which in men is seen as a weakness
- Ability to relieve tension in a situation through empathy and understanding
- Happy to be out of the limelight and just get on with the job
Conclusions or Questions?
Are we moving into a time when female leadership is more appropriate for the global and work-related challenges we face in today’s world – starvation, homelessness, loneliness, escalation in chronic mental and physical diseases, environmental damage on a huge scale and the ever widening gap between the exceedingly wealthy and those who earn under the minimum wage?
I don’t know the answer to this, but I do know the questions: How much longer can we, as human beings go on living in an environment that is under more and more control due to the poor, ignorant choices of our leadership and our own inaction? One that we are determined to destroy through industrial farming methods, fracking that pollutes and destroys the very integrity of the earth and the finely balanced ecosystem on which we live as well as wasteful habits, all of which combined are removing the right to a heritage for generations to come?
How long can we go on not seeing, or deliberately covering up the detrimental impact of processed, sugar laden foods on our health and the health of our children, which has manifested in serious escalation in chronic disease, obesity and stress, all of which we see in most of the English speaking world, with other countries not far behind, having adopted a Western diet?
How long are we going to allow escalation in mental health issues to continue to rise, before taking a close look at our company cultures, leadership approach and work environments? What might this have to do with the current pandemic? Could there be a correlation between the number of Covid cases and deaths in countries with the highest levels of diabetes, obesity and other chronic disease?
Let’s celebrate female leadership
As we move into the Age of Aquarius with the spring equinox, let’s celebrate all our female leaders and leadership, not only on International Women’s day, but everyday whether Heads of State, Heads of Companies, Entrepreneurs or Mothers. The arrival of the Aquarian age is associated with harmony, understanding, sympathy and trust. All female characteristics. It is perhaps the female leaders that will turn the ship to restore balance in life, becoming more caring, nurturing, and responsible in how and what we live for? Fostering a global economy and community that sees nations support each other rather than competing and striving to be the first with the strong, fit and healthy and remembering the rest as an afterthought?
In the words of Marilyn Munroe, “One of the best things that ever happened to me, is that I am a woman. That is the way all females should feel.”
Happy International Women’s Day.
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New here? Rachel writes about leadership development, communication and customer excellence, including health and well-being at work. You can read similar blogs here: