Higher Education Review Magazine

Higher Education Review ›› Magazine ›› June-2018 issue

Women in Leadership - Bridging the Gender Gap

Author : Prof. Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury

Prof. Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury

Prof. Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury NL Dalmia Institute of Management Studies & Research

Leadership as a term is universal and making it a gender issue would not be fair. As a leader, one would have to exhibit basic qualities of courage, determination, pragmatism, perseverance, ability to take people along, coach and influence, ability to do the tight-rope balance at critical times and much more. Perhaps due to the societal upbringing, balance and collaboration come automatically to most women, starting with a balance between parents and in-laws, family and self, professional and mother - what it takes is a willing mind and an honest soul to make a difference in the lives of people around. Beyond the usual association of charisma and vision, with leadership, there is an aspect of adaptability; you cannot bring in change as a leader without adapting or being sensitive to the culture around. As research studies point out, women find it easier to adapt to different cultures.

[HER_QUOTES]

Not everyone is a born leader; rather most are not, yet through life experiences, openness to feedback and willingness to improve, they are catapulted to leadership. You become a leader not when you are in a position of power, you become a leader when with or without a position, you have the power to influence the lives around you and they are all rooting for your success. In my journey, there have been situations when both the career growth cycle and family cycle needed urgent and immediate attention. In those moments of 'what should I do?" the inner voice has guided me to think 'what do I really want? Am I willing to give up one joy of life for the other?' The answer was NO. So, I moved on to take challenges head-on, with a promise to not keep unrealistic expectations from life.

Women in Workplace

Usual top qualities associated with a woman in the workplace are multi-tasking, balanced collaborative outlook, sensitive approach, emotional intelligence, organized and planned, empathy and deep listening skills. There is an aspect of Indian culture here. As per Hofstede's model which researched the cultural dimensions in various countries, India is considered a masculine country with a score of 56 on this dimension of Masculinity vs. Femininity (MAS). This indicates that the Indian society is majorly driven by achievements, success and competitive spirit, which are perceived to be masculine attributes. Women in responsible positions do possess these attributes and also the 'perceived' feminine qualities of emotional drive, relationship-building, intuition.

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