Being a good leader takes a lot of capability especially for women, as the position of such leadership roles can be daunting. The idea that women are effective leaders has jumped from the writers of feminist trade books on management to the mainstream press and is stealing making its way into the popular culture. But as far we see, the society, in general, has made great gains in women’s participation in social, political, and employment spheres, but women’s representation in positions of power and influence has been notably not impressive.
Women face numerous obstacles in achieving representation in governance. As worldwide it can be seen there is a huge difference between the countries like Sri Lanka and countries like Denmark and Sweden. The thing to be noticed is that female leader is in fact highly generalized in nature and in fact there is nothing within the gender biologically that makes women less patient or less suitable for unpredictability (Catalyst, 2004)
It is important to leadership theory and practice as the emerging world countries like the United States also do not have developing female leadership which should be brought to people interest and concern. Further, the essay suggests that measure of attitude, experience, and self-confidence should continue to be examined for their predictive value in female leadership. And therefore the following essay talks about the social and political conditions for developing female leadership in the United States and also considering all theories and approaches the country could use to increase and encourage female leadership.
DEVELOPING FEMALE LEADERSHIP IN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Barriers to women in social or political sector exist worldwide but when coming to the conditions for developing female leadership in a country; United States can be taken as an example to study it in a better ways. As in the United States, women hold up a majority of the population and yet lag substantially behind men when it comes to their representation in a leadership position. The United States is one of the shrinking numbers of industrialized democracies do not yet have a woman as its leader. Worldwide countries often viewed as particularly male-dominated have had female prime ministers and female leaders obtaining high managerial positions to make decisions. However, the united states lag far behind in decreasing the gap. Unfortunately, the United States is the 99th out of 193 countries in the case of the percentage of female lawmakers across the world. Therefore, the United States, a country which promotes the rights of women around the world is conspicuous for having only male presidents but still has a smaller pool of presidential leaders as women than other countries do. Approaches to working on the condition for developing female leadership can be through education, quotas, grassroots women empowerment movements and research improvements in social as well as political sector.
According to Eagly (2003), in an evolution of the evidence, articles in newspaper and business magazines reveal culture realignment in the United States that proclaims a new era for female leaders as female is more transformation and men are more transactional because the women resist adopting the more traditional masculine approach and may try harder to be accepted in every leadership roles (Eagly at el, 2003). And recently the most striking aspects in recent newspapers and magazines is that the female has qualities and abilities to be a leader but this statement cannot be put into practice. The conditions for developing the female leadership can be understood by the evaluating approaches and different theories and concepts.
Leadership has been predominantly a male chauvinist in different sectors of society like military or political or corporate. Though women have gained access to lead these sectors but remain quite as elite leaders therefore to explain this phenomenon there was an introduction to the idea of GLASS CEILING, a barrier of prejudice and discrimination that excludes women from higher level leadership positions (Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995; Morrison, White, & Van Velsor, 1987). Also it can be explained as an unacknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women. Not all gender or racial inequalities need to be defined as glass ceiling as it is a specific type of gender inequality that is unjust and where there is a need of more deserving policy interventions (Wright, Baxter & Birkelund 1995). Rather it is intended merely as a more colorful phrase to describe what we already mean by gender inequality proliferating concepts that may ease our communications with the public but there is a little requirement to advance our work as an analyst of the causes of inequality. But the matter of fact is that there are many women aspiring to senior or leader positions believes it is enormously important to publicize women breaking the glass ceilings, especially in the United States because it affects and inspires so many other women. The evidence suggests that women are able to advance just so far in all other countries in every sector like corporate hierarchies before encountering a glass ceiling that prevents or reduces the likelihood of reaching on the top position (Hymowitz and Schellhardt, 1986). But the glass ceiling can be a misleading metaphor where it only implies that women have equal access to entry-level position and assumes to an absolute barrier to a specific level in the organization. Therefore, it suggests the possibility that female can overcome barriers to acquiring a high position (Eagly & Carli, 2007).
In the context of the United States it can be said that as the women like, Hillary Clinton and her nomination for the president of the United States was beamed across the world, millions of women now know that it is totally possible for an extraordinary woman to wield a big sledgehammer to break the glass ceiling and crawl through it. It can be said that maybe if female spend more time on learning about what makes it be one of them who can break the ceiling and reach to the desired place on top, the world including the counties like the United States will have enough women standing on top of the glass ceiling to shatter it for all good. On a current status, there are four women governors, representing different parts of united states but the numbers served are for in the context of the share of women in cabinet and which is not even nearly equivalent to the men share in cabinet-level position (Cotter, 2001).
Apart from the concept of glass ceiling in the condition like this where female are not given social, corporate and especially when talking about political rights to lead a country it can also be said that the there is a phenomenon known as GLASS CLIFF, where women in leadership roles, such as female political election candidates or executives in the social or corporate world, being like than men to achieve a position for the top leadership positions during the period of crisis or downturn (Ryan,2005). The above concept of glass cliff can be suitably fit for the countries like the United States as when there was the highest chance of failure the country chose their leader to be a male and not a female who has given all her life in serving people. And therefore, there are a very short number of female representatives in the country.
The phenomenon of the glass cliff suggests that in times of organizational crisis those who are responsible for appointing leaders may not automatically make the THINK MALE THINK MANAGER (TMTM) stereotype association. Indeed, the increased likelihood of appointing women to leadership roles in these circumstances suggests that in these contexts an alternative association may be in operation. More specifically, in times of crisis, it may be the case that people are more likely to make the association “Think Crisis–Think Female” (Ryan & Haslam, 2007). Exactly what unites states would have done while appointing its male presidents and different high political positions to the only male to make the decision when there was clear need of a female leader who wants to serve the people in all rightful means. Therefore, supporting this assertion, this is the evidence that people do look to stereotypes about gender and crisis management to explain the existence of glass cliff stating that women always want to help the underdog and have more skills to balance risk (Ryan et al., 2007).
Stereotypes are important institutional, social and political peculiarities in the United States that separates the country from the general theories of gendered leadership, as we can use the concept of the stereotypical leadership style of men and women and therefore we can examine interpersonal relations, as it holds the behavior and priorities of a leader. In the world of business, there is a GENDER-BASED STEREOTYPING which sabotages women in any type of workplace. According to Ashmore and Del Boca’s (1981), stereotypes in a set of beliefs about personal attributes of men and women. The concept of stereotyping can be explained with context to social psychology as a thought adopted by an individual in few ways to intend to represent the entire group of individuals. And when we talk about the United States, there is no lack of qualified women to be a leader or fill the leadership roles. Unites States have an approximately about 50.8% of female out of their total population and yet the leadership positions are not dominated by females of the United States. As according to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics (2008), the United States has an average of 11% of employed men and only 9% of employed women in a management position. However, even these percentages are only limited to the lower and middle levels of management.
Therefore, it can be concluded out of this data that majority of men confer the major decision- making authority and position of a leader (Smith, 2002). In past years, it can be noted that men emerged as leaders more often and continuously than women. The reason for such a prejudice against women as a leader can be the people holding a stereotype about them that they lack the qualities required for success in a practicing role of a leader. Therefore, such an attitude results in discriminatory behaviors contributing a mismatch. In past years, people are not aware of how automatically stereotyping affects the thinking and how perceptions are based on objective observations. However, the perception exactly does not reflect the actual reality.
In the business world, women leaders are still a minority. And there is no surprise to this as we know men outpace women in leadership positions not only at managerial levels but every in every sector. When we talk about the employment sector it should be brought into notice that the overall society may accept the female leadership positions but some majorly sectors have been and are still male-dominated. According to the data, only 1.8% of companies had women CEOs ( Helfat, Harris, & Wolfson,2006).
The United States has female leader as CEOs for example, Mary Barra of General Motors; Indra Nooyi of Pepsico; Sheryl Sandberg coo of Facebook and etc. But it can be seen that despite having women leaders in the country from then, till now women are still struggling to achieve business chief executives business roles until we see women and men balancing the representation at the top to bottom level in an organization. Therefore, it should not be confined only to the business sector or positions like chief executives positions in business but can also be considered that including majorities of men and women, it is only easy for men to get higher positions in every aspect. And the reason for this is that men are still more likely to possess all the key characteristics of leadership ability, or business ability. The items meeting the criteria and similar to that identify exhibit a very strong degree of similarity between male and female on gaining the position of managers. Although there is nearly no difference still countries like the United States treat women with varied differences, as it can be seen by the percentage of employed women as top managers and over more than three decades it has been continued that men perceive more characteristics than women (Shein, 2004).
In the United States, women are always praised and appreciated for acquiring skills for leadership roles and from always women had manifest more than men in terms of styles associated with high performance in leadership. And now that we know that the United States has a very low encouragement of female leaders in any sector of the society. There are few concerns that should be brought to notice and implemented so as to remove such stereotypes and give equal positions and fair chances to women in the country. After knowing and understanding all the theories and concepts it can be hard to argue that women are relatively weaker in performing or handling their positions. The United States needs women as their leaders as they have proven their ability and in one or the other ways as the evidence shows that female leaders are more compassionate and are more open to negotiate, and when there is a requirement of a change it can be said that women are more transformational in nature than men and they follow different transformational leadership style (Alice H. Eagly). As the transformational leadership style, imspires change and innovation and also allow to set high expectations. The women are transformational than men in nature as they try to show more charisma and vision without destroying the trust pride and respect in themselves. This leadership style basically deals with abstract and intangible concepts which are best suitable for countries like the United States.
Therefore, women in the United States have a right combination of leadership skills and effectiveness; therefore they must not be kept in second place to men while attaining leadership positions and also must not suffer while accessing those positions in terms of prejudice and resistance.
The United States has always been very encouraging regarding the participation and enrolment of women in leadership roles and yet lacks to show as per in statistics of data of female leadership in all sectors of the society. The literature has been examined on the basis of a thought acknowledged by the role of women as a determinant of leadership. The essay concludes on all the concepts involving the identification of the needs and consideration of all factors that could be predicted and influenced the women in every sector with effectiveness and emergence. There are different ways to which men and women approach different leadership styles and thus it should be understood well that women leadership styles are attempted to approach and believe in those differences. Thus, effective leadership is not an exclusive domain of either gender as both can learn from each other and make it beneficial to any sector of the country. It has always been seen that at every point of women’s life there are barriers that to be dealt with but they are always concealed behind the agenda of priorities. Therefore, at last, the question of developing female leadership in the United States can be answered as, the concept of leadership styles in a person must be understood by its characteristics and traits and not by its gender and then the authority to power or making decisions must be given accordingly.