So Women Leaders Are ‘Less Confident’ Than Men…
Senior women leaders are often criticised for being less confident than the men, and for feeling unable to delegate. Is this any wonder, when those very men don’t play fair? It’s time for sexist attitudes in the corridors of power to be challenged head-on – which is exactly what Margot Wallström, Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders Ministerial Initiative, has just been doing.
The truth is, men choose men. It is as simple as that – not a question of lack of ambition, of interest or of aptitude from women.
So, in her article A thick layer of men, says Margot Wallström, Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders Ministerial Initiative, a network of current and former women presidents, prime ministers and ministers aiming ‘to promote good governance and enhance democracy globally by increasing the number, effectiveness, and visibility of women who lead at the highest levels in their countries’.
Well, I of course agree. There has to be some explanation of the neglect of women’s (much-needed) talents, and the most obvious is that they’re not part of the Gang. Until 90 years ago, women in the UK weren’t even permitted to vote, let alone to be members of the UK’s ultimate chaps’ club, Parliament, where many of the really big decisions are made.
We all know that the dynamic of debate and decision-making changes as the gender ratio also changes, both for men and for women.
And of course some men are always fairminded and exemplary in their professional conduct and beliefs; but sadly not as yet in sufficient numbers to secure the fundamental changes essential for genuine gender (or other) equality.
Determined rather than confident?
Maybe this explains claims at the moment that there may now be more women taking leadership roles, but these women are ‘less confident‘ than their male peers, and feel more obliged to ‘check the detail’ and don’t like to delegate.
You can only let the detail go, and feel confident, if you know that what you ask to be done, is indeed being done.
The next step towards gender equality can only be taken by the male half of the workforce. When men (and some other women) are as amenable to women as to men issuing the orders, leaders who happen to be female will feel confident that they don’t need to check up on everything.
Challenge the sexism, not the upshot
Until that’s fully grasped – and until ungendered collaboration and compliance in the workplace becomes a required part of professional behaviour for everyone – criticism of women’s leadership styles is, quite simply, unfair and out of order.
All power, I say, to Margot Wallström’s elbow, as she puts the ball back firmly in the chaps’ court.