There is no doubt that women have played an increasingly larger role in society in the last few decades.
Ever since the societal shift concerning traditional gender roles, the possibilities for women are now endless. With every day comes another success story of a strong and powerful woman who has overcome the odds.
However, when it comes to positions of leadership, particularly in government, women are still severely under-represented. According to The Globalist, there are over 175 current heads of states in the world, but only 18, or 10 percent of them, are women. More interestingly, many of these women are leaders in developing countries, with only a select few governing in Europe (with the recent election of Theresa May as Britain’s new prime minister).
Surprisingly, the (arguably) most powerful nation in the world— The United States of America— has yet to see female governance. This strange fact may soon be overturned with Hillary Clinton’s political victory, but the presidential path still remains very nebulous.
But if we push aside current statistics for a moment and examine the psychology behind female leadership, things get fascinating.
I spoke to Dr. Kanu Priya Mohan— an assistant professor at the Behavioural Science Research Institute at Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok, Thailand— on how women compare to men in leadership roles.This is what she had to say on the matter:
“Being a behavioural scientist I can’t take a stand that women or men are better— research evidence suggests that it’s rather a mix of personality and environment and definitely the right opportunity that helps people to demonstrate their leadership qualities. There are some personality characteristics that women leaders demonstrate more than men, like being better listeners, tolerance and team work. But yet there might be some situations in which these may not yield the right results."
According to her, women can be leaders in any aspect of their lives, whether it be at home, taking care of the family, or at the workplace.
Right now, our biggest challenge as a society is developing “leadership competencies” in the next generation of women:
“Leadership is not just about rights and opportunities but also responsibilities— e.g. a woman in a leadership role could help empower other women too.”
Story originally published on The Tab.