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Revealing the Hidden Power of Women

Imagine a world ruled by women. A time etched in the mists of prehistory, where a different power dynamic might have shaped society.

“One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough 

or assertive enough or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.”

— Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

Myth versus Reality

Imagine a world ruled by women. A time etched in the mists of prehistory, where a different power dynamic might have shaped society.

This captivating idea, often referred to as "prehistoric matriarchy," has fueled debate for centuries. Proponents find clues in ancient artifacts and powerful female deities. 

But do these artifacts translate to dominant female leadership? 

Critics think not and contend that these artifacts don't decisively prove widespread female political and leadership power but rather suggest that prehistoric societies had diverse and complex power structures.

But what about the reality of power for women today? How do societal expectations and cultural norms impact their leadership journeys?

Well, Women Are Redefining Leadership! 

Women in Leadership: Progress or Backslide?

Progress for women in leadership has been slow. While women made up 20% of senior management globally two decades ago, the number only slightly increased to 28% in 2023. However, in 2024, resignations of top women leaders in big corporations caused a decline to 19%.

In the US, women constitute over half the workforce but hold only 30% of leadership positions. Conversely, Iceland, where nearly half the parliament is female, saw women dominate the 2024 presidential race, winning 75% of the votes.

Research predicts gender equality won't be achieved until 2227. However, with concerted efforts, we can accelerate change. Let's get moving!

“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else."

— Sara Blakely, Founder & CEO, Spanx

The Uphill Climb: Challenges Women Face on the Road to Leadership

The path to leadership for women is fraught with challenges, but resilient women are breaking barriers. 

Key hurdles include:

  • Pipeline Problem: Limited promotion opportunities for women in junior roles create a shallow pool of candidates for top positions.

  • Bias: Unconscious biases and societal portrayals of powerful women can hinder women's progress.

  • Double Bind: Women in power are often labeled as "bossy" for assertiveness or lacking leadership for being passive.

  • Support Systems: Lack of mentorship, sponsorship, and flexible work arrangements make it difficult for women to balance careers and family responsibilities.

  • Confidence and Self-Promotion: Women often underestimate their qualifications compared to men, reducing their likelihood of seeking leadership roles.

  • Systemic Barriers: Pay gaps, unwelcoming corporate cultures, and scarcity of female role models further impede progress.

Beyond Climbing the Ladder: Further Challenges for Women in Power

Even after attaining leadership roles, women face unique challenges:

  1. Public Pressure and Scrutiny: Women leaders often endure harsher criticism than their male counterparts.

  2. Caregiving Responsibilities: Balancing demanding careers with family duties remains challenging due to insufficient support systems.

  3. Imposter Syndrome: Societal expectations can make women feel they must conform to traditional male leadership styles, causing emotional strain.

  4. Isolation: The lack of women in leadership positions can lead to feelings of isolation and limited role models.

We must build a supportive community for women leaders. Join online groups, start mentorship programs, and create networks where women can thrive.

Beyond Equality: The Business Benefits of Women in Leadership

Beyond the fight for equality, there's a compelling business case for promoting women into leadership roles. 

Studies show that companies with more women at the helm experience a range of benefits, including:

  1. Diversity of Thought and Innovation: Women bring unique perspectives, fostering creativity and well-rounded decision-making.

  2. Stronger Financial Performance: Companies with more women leaders often see improved financial outcomes.

  3. Role Models and Inspiration: Women in leadership inspire younger generations, demonstrating that these roles are attainable.

  4. Improved Company Culture: Women leaders often foster collaborative, empathetic work environments, enhancing employee satisfaction and productivity.

  5. Customer Focus: Women leaders ensure products and services meet the needs of a diverse customer base.

Imagine a world where leadership reflects our society's rich tapestry. 

Share this article, support women-owned businesses, and amplify female leaders' voices. Together, we can create a world where women's leadership benefits everyone.

Welcome to the Women & Power, Money & Growth Workshop Series

On August 14th, Rúna Bouius will explore the dynamics of power in the workplace. 

This workshop will challenge you to examine your perceptions of power and gender-specific barriers, providing strategies to navigate and reshape these dynamics. 

Get ready—this event is set to be truly transformative. Please invite your friends, colleagues, clients, and any young woman you care about. 

Register Here.

About the Author

Rúna Bouius  Fractional Leadership Officer & Executive Coach

Fractional Leadership Officer & Executive Coach

A visionary thought leader and activator, Rúna empowers future-focused leaders and their teams to thrive in a changing world. Leveraging her CEO and serial entrepreneur experience, she unlocks clients' potential for TruePower and conscious leadership through coaching and navigating shifting power dynamics in the workplace. 

Founder of the True Power Institute, host of the TruePower Executive Roundtable, and co-founder of social impact initiatives, Rúna ignites possibilities for well-being and regeneration, inviting you on a journey towards a thriving world. 

Rúna is a published author, including co-author of the international bestseller “The Successful Mind: Tools to Living a Purposeful, Productive, and Happy Life.”

Connect with her.

Secure your fractional executive today!

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