The reported comments by former MP Anne Widdecombe in the Daily Mail this week that female MPs are not victims of sexism but are useless has fuelled a lot of debate. Ms. Widdecombe dismisses that parliament is biased against women and that both sexes are 'roughed' up during debates.
It can be challenging for women working in senior positions in a male dominated environment. What with all those high levels of testosterone, a lot of women in this position feel they have to act like a man in order to get their voice heard and to receive recognition.
For many years women have been criticised if they act too dominant or too confident as these leadership traits have typically been seen as stereotypical male. However, according to an article in the Washington Post it would seem that the tables have turned and that the latest research shows that it is becoming more acceptable for women to be tough and commanding leaders.
But do we really need tough and commanding leaders? Whilst a tough, commanding style may get short term results, this can be at the expense of relationships and connectivity with others in the long term. However, on the other hand, too much of a compliant leadership may allow others to ride roughshod over you, making you seem timid or indecisive.
I believe that women in leadership roles should be their authentic selves and need to be emotionally intelligent so that they can adapt their leadership style accordingly. Be assertive but do it in a way that is authentic to you. As a leader you may find yourself working in environments that may be harsh, brutal and blunt but I would question that if you cannot be your true self in such an environment AND achieve results, is that really the environment for you?
Another thing we have to contend with is that certain roles are not conducive to women who have children. Because of our very nature as women, unless you have the support around you or are able to afford the appropriate childcare, when you have children, there comes a time where you will have to make some sacrifices with either your career or your children.
The Daily Mail reports that Anne who does not have children, would have liked to have had children but it would have made becoming an MP impossible. If you are working in an environment where it is not practical for you to climb the corporate ladder because you have family commitments, consider climbing the ladder in an environment that is, or waiting until such time as your children are less dependent.
An other alternative is to do your own thing and set up your own business that enables you to work the hours and the way that you want to, but that requires another post...
So girls, is Ann Widdecombe right and it is a case of you just can't do what the guys do and still be a lady, what are your thoughts?
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