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  • Would you like to be led by an all-women team?

  • What is it like to be a woman leader in a man's world?

  • A huge risk is attached to undertaking

  • leadership positions when you're a woman,

  • because you are judged on the basis of prejudice

  • prejudice linked to your gender.

  • We are going to look at what it takes to be a woman who leads.

  • There might be lessons in it for men too.

  • The picture that made headlines around the world:

  • some of the leaders of Finland's new coalition government,

  • notable for their gender and the way this informs

  • their policy and leadership.

  • All five leaders were women. All but one were under the age of 35

  • when they took power in December 2019.

  • Sanna Marin, at the age of 34,

  • became Finland's youngest ever Prime Minister.

  • Finland has a record of leading when it comes to women's rights:

  • the first country in the world to give full voting rights to women,

  • and one used to females in positions of power.

  • The women say there are pitfalls to having an all-female team.

  • What we want is not to reproduce

  • the excluding structures, that men have used,

  • as women, but really, kind of, to change those structures.

  • And there have been disagreements between the leaders,

  • but Finland won praise for its early handling of the coronavirus pandemic,

  • like some other female-led countries,

  • And the government is pushing an ambitious equality programme,

  • that gives greater rights to trans people,

  • encourages parents to share caring responsibilities

  • and closes the gender pay gap.

  • So, what does Finland's example tell us about female leadership

  • in a man's world?

  • All women in the 'Finnish Five' coalition

  • have, kind of, experiential understanding of,

  • you know, exclusion and marginalisation and living in hardship.

  • And I think that also makes them, you know,

  • understand, care and value it more,

  • as well as inclusion and solidarity.

  • The Finnish leaders put care at the heart

  • of the decisions they make and goals they set.

  • But actually working towards that goal involves perseverance,

  • and working through difference, and working through conflict,

  • and trying to find a way around and through all these differences,

  • like political affiliation or beliefs

  • or, you know, your stances and so on.

  • So, I think women are experientially made to, kind of,

  • work in that way from their early age

  • and they don't just give up on the first hurdle

  • but, you know, persevere.

  • The Finnish leaders have different political beliefs,

  • but they persevere to work through their differences together.

  • A huge risk is attached to undertaking

  • leadership positions when you're a woman,

  • because you are judged on the basis of prejudice

  • prejudice linked to your gender.

  • So, if Finnish Five, for example, was to fail for any reason,

  • you know, or misdeliver on the promises that they made,

  • they would probably be judged, you know, harsher

  • than their male counterparts

  • by politicians or media or their electorate.

  • So, women leaders are judged more harshly than male leaders.

  • They face prejudice because of their gender. Is that fair?

  • The pandemic, or financial crisis, or climate crisis:

  • they're... they are making it obvious

  • that this kind of inclusive, caring leadership

  • is something that we require in order to get through.

  • And I think that's what propelled...

  • that is exactly what propelled this kind of

  • traditionally understoodthis feminine leadership forward.

  • And I can see, you know, it being applied widely in the future.

  • So, the leadership qualities traditionally associated with women,

  • such as caring for others and working together,

  • have proven successful in tackling global crises.

  • Meggie Palmer started life as a journalist,

  • but realised she had a different story to tell.

  • Women across the world are generally paid less than men

  • and don't hold as many top jobs in companies.

  • Meggie decided to do something about that,

  • so she set up PepTalkHer.

  • It coaches women on getting fair pay

  • and pushes for gender balance in senior positions.

  • Its aim is to end the pay gap

  • and help women become the leaders they want to be.

  • So, I've had some really positive experiences as a woman in leadership:

  • I've had a lot of men and women who've sponsored me

  • to get into more senior roles in the workforce.

  • I've also had some really negative experiences in the workplace,

  • with inappropriate behaviour, being spoken to differently

  • and being treated differently, purely because of my gender.

  • Meggie Palmer has had positive and negative experiences.

  • She has been supported to reach senior positions,

  • but she has also been treated differently to her male colleagues.

  • I had an experience of pay inequality in my career:

  • I found out that I was being paid less

  • and had different terms and conditions to my employment,

  • when compared to my male colleagues.

  • This didn't seem fair to me, so I raised it with the bosses

  • and they said to me: 'Meggie, if you don't like it,

  • you can quit or you can take us to court.'

  • Now, this is a few years ago, so I hope

  • that things have changed somewhat.

  • Although, what we know is that the gender pay gap still exists

  • all around the worldstill to this day.

  • Meggie had her own experiences of being paid less

  • than her male counterpartspay inequality

  • and wanted to do something about it.

  • Being the only person anywhere is lonely, right?

  • If you're the only person of colour, if you're the only woman,

  • it's... it can be lonely,

  • and so... you know, that's what women leaders tell methat it is lonely

  • and I've... you know, I sit on some not-for-profit boards

  • and I've had the experience as well of... of raising issues,

  • particularly that pertain to women,

  • and just getting crickets from all the men on the board, right?

  • And I would get a little bit of support, maybe,

  • from one of the other female board members, but we were outnumbered.

  • And so, when you're outnumbered, it's really hard to create that change, right?

  • And so, it's frustrating

  • but it's something that we need to continue to talk about.

  • We have to keep amplifying this issue.

  • Meggie knows what it is like to be one of the only women in the boardroom.

  • Women leaders can often feel isolated.

  • So, when we think about whose responsibility is it

  • to improve these situations,

  • really, it's all of our responsibilities.

  • This is not a problem just for women to solve;

  • this is not a problem just for leadership to solve;

  • this is a problem for all of us to solve.

  • When you are in middle management and you are hiring,

  • you have the ability to say: 'I want to make sure

  • that I'm interviewing male and female candidates.' Right?

  • When you are interviewing for jobs, you can actively ask:

  • 'What are the policies here to encourage diversity amongst the team?'

  • Meggie says change is everyone's responsibility.

  • Everyone, at whatever level, should ask the questions

  • that will lead to more equality in the workplace.

  • So, we know that when there are women in leadership, companies perform better.

  • We know that women-led start-ups return a higher return on investment

  • to investors, than teams of start-ups that just have men in leadership.

  • We know when we're looking at larger businesses,

  • when there are women in the c-suite,

  • the net profit of that business goes up.

  • When we have women in leadership, what we find is

  • the decision-making process is more robust and more effective.

  • Research shows that companies that have women in leadership roles

  • perform better.

  • So, what have we learnt about women in leadership?

  • They face more judgement and risk to their reputations,

  • but they're likely to prioritise care and compassion in decision-making

  • and they can make businesses and governments more effective.

Would you like to be led by an all-women team?

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Are women better leaders than men? - Leadership

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/12/06
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