Crucial Actions Women Can Do to Become Effective Leaders


In the past, prejudices and cultural expectations have made it difficult for many women to achieve acceptance in the job. Nonetheless, women are thriving in leadership positions and have made significant progress in a number of historically male-dominated fields.

Despite significant progress toward gender equality, female entrepreneurs continue to confront obstacles, and women in leadership positions are sometimes subjected to more scrutiny and criticism than their male colleagues. Indeed,Stereotypes. Leadership positions often state that women need to put in twice as much effort to be respected as men.

If any of these obstacles resonate with you, continue reading for advice on how to overcome them so that you may demonstrate your leadership abilities at work and encourage other women to follow in your footsteps.

Were you aware?

Women have been recommended for top positions of leadership in the human resources, education, social services, healthcare, and hospitality sectors.

Motives for departing from comfort zones: women leaders

According to widely-cited Hewlett-Packard research on internal recruiting procedures, women only apply for jobs if they fully satisfy the requirements, but men often apply when they only meet 60% of the requirements. This research suggests that women may have an unconscious belief that they won’t be given consideration for a job if they don’t precisely match the requirements. They are so doubtful of themselves that they choose not to enter the race.

Job app qualifications graph

It will require deliberate effort to change this belief. Women should concentrate on having the perspective that they are totally competent at executing the task if a position fits with their expertise and skills, and then demonstrate their worth throughout the interview process. What experts have to say regarding the significance of women setting high goals is as follows:


  • Women are conditioned to be idealized. Boys are trained to play hard and swing high, while females are taught to play it safe, smile sweetly, and earn all As. This is according to Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Female Code. In a TED lecture, she said, “In other words, we’re raising our boys to be brave, and we’re raising our girls to be perfect.” According to Saujani, women’s indoctrination to perfection often causes them to be risk averse, even when they are ambitious.
  • Despite your trepidation, face the challenge head-on. Owner of Distinct Personal Branding Devoreaux Walton believes that fear of the unknown often stands in the way of achievement because it pushes us outside our comfort zones. “All prosperous business leaders and entrepreneurs overcame fear by taking calculated risks instead of allowing it to control their personal and professional lives,” the speaker said. Walton says that facing your fears head-on and moving on with the task in spite of them is the best way to get over them. Being too inflexible might prevent you from experiencing those accidental “aha” moments that could motivate a novel solution or compel you to take an alternative route.
  • Don’t pass up possibilities that present themselves. As an introverted college graduate, Angie Hicks, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Angi (previously Angie’s List), had to confront her insecurities when she was contacted about founding the now-national customer review site. “Overcoming my shyness and quiet nature was my biggest challenge,” Hicks said during the first American Express OPEN CEO BootCamp. “You have to get out and speak with individuals when you are beginning a company. I was selling subscriptions door-to-door, which was the last thing I ever imagined doing. Hicks’ decision to go outside of her comfort zone allowed her to seize chances that otherwise would not have presented themselves. She said, “Don’t pass up opportunities that present themselves.” “Set yourself up for success; recognize when an opportunity presents itself and seize it.”


Asking questions rather than making assumptions and carefully selecting the people around you are two ways to intentionally cultivate a positive mentality in the workplace when you’re attempting to go outside of your comfort zone.

Strive to make equality a reality in your imagination.

According to a Pew Research Center research, the median hourly salary for combined part-time and full-time employment in 2020 was 84% higher for women than for males. Similarly, women earned 83% of what males made, according to a 2020 U.S. Census Bureau research that examined full-time salary statistics.

Median wages men compared to women graph

The gender gap has negatively impacted many women’s jobs, whether it be via a disagreement over compensation, a missed opportunity for advancement, or hurtful remarks from coworkers. Even in workplaces that support equality, you may come across individuals who have experienced prejudice based on their gender, whether overt or covert. [Ensure that you are able to identify and report instances of harassment in the workplace.]

Despite the fact that we encounter gender injustice in the news, on social media, and in our own lives, one expert advises women to maintain their resolve and optimism. According to Paula Stephenson, director of marketing at Smoke’s Poutinerie, women need to act as if the gap has closed in order to be taken seriously and demand the respect they are due in the workplace. Stephenson observed, “I’ve found that if you act like there’s equality in the workplace, then there will be.”

That’s not to imply that individuals should act as if inequality doesn’t exist. While it’s important to acknowledge that change is needed, our behaviors and attitudes at work matter much more. Encourage oneself and other people, and don’t allow the day be dictated by perceived disadvantages.

“It’s a daily struggle to be a working mother in the corporate world,” marketing professional Mayra Attuy said. Even though she struggles to maintain a healthy work-life balance, she believes that her return from maternity leave was her best professional moment. She feels that her ability to succeed both personally and professionally has strengthened her as a marketer.

Women need to accept their innate leadership abilities.

Attuy advised being transparent, encouraging, and cooperative while setting a good example for women just starting their careers. Seek out other women to connect with, become mentors to and role models for them. Though talks have been sparked by advancements like the #MeToo movement, there are still many obstacles to be removed.

Even though each person is unique, characteristics that are often associated with women may make a big difference in the workplace when it comes to leadership. Women may focus on collaboration, assist others in setting and achieving objectives, and devote time to mentorship, training, and personal growth.

Emily He, a corporate vice president of business applications marketing at Microsoft and former chief marketing officer of Saba Software, found that women are more motivated by internal work-related reasons than by external demands from their employers.

He said, “Women view work more holistically, as a component of their overall life plan, in contrast to men, who tend to be career-centric and want to maximize their financial return from work.” As a result, they are more likely to prioritize aspects like work-life integration, meaning, purpose, and connections with coworkers and to approach their employment in a self-reflective manner.

Women’s innate qualities may lead to positive adjustments in workplace culture, such as increased collaboration and employee retention, inside teams and enterprises. Most importantly, with educated thoughts, the next generation of leaders, regardless of gender, can progress.

The gender gap will eventually narrow as more individuals strive for gender equality in the workplace. Businesses that use a variety of leadership philosophies, including those that are seen as typically masculine or feminine, have a greater chance of succeeding.

In order for the mentality change to occur, Attuy said, “the big challenge is to keep our perspectives top of mind in conversations at the corporate level as well as among family and friends.” “Remain strong, for change is inevitable.”

Business executives of both genders may support the advancement of workplace equality. Follow these suggestions to reduce the gender gap in the workplace and foster an inclusive atmosphere if you’re interested in making a difference.

Statistics on women in leadership

Fortune 500 CEOs graph

Statistics on women in leadership positions indicate that the gender gap persists despite modest improvements in recent years. According to Zippia, there were only 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs (41 CEOs) who were women as of 2022, although it represents a tremendous gain from the zero female Fortune 500 CEOs in 1995.

Senior management representation

Women held 35% of senior management jobs in the US as of December 2021; this is a 4% increase from 2016 but is still far from 50%.

Masters degrees earned by men vs. women

Educational data also indicate a significant disparity. In the US, 505,000 women and 327,000 men obtained master’s degrees between 2020 and 2021. Furthermore, master’s degree holders made, on average, 38% less money than men with same qualifications—that is, $72,568 for women and $117,617 for males.

Gender wage gap graph

Were You Aware?

For the twelfth consecutive year, women obtained more doctorates than males in 2020. 53.1% of doctorates granted in that year went to women.

Women earning more doctorates than men graph

Obstacles facing female leaders

Women continue to encounter resistance in the workplace, despite advancements toward gender equality. There are still several hurdles for women to hold leadership positions, such as the following:

  • Stereotypes. Because male leadership has dominated most businesses for such a long time, excellent leadership qualities are often associated with men. When women display these characteristics, they are often viewed unfavorably. To make matters worse, when women don’t exhibit these conventional leadership traits, they could be seen as unsuited for the position. Furthermore, some individuals could associate certain professions and careers with the feminine, while others would associate them with the masculine.
  • discrimination. Biases that favor males may create toxic work conditions for women. In addition to experiencing sexual harassment, workplace harassment, and other unethical actions, women may be passed over for advancement.
  • Insufficient chances for networking. Even while prejudice in the workplace is decreasing, women who want to network may still face obstacles as a result of it. There could thus be fewer chances for mentoring or plans to assist women in advancing into leadership roles.
  • No balance between work and life. The help that women may require to adequately manage work and other obligations might be limited by outdated notions about men and women’s home duties. Because of this, there is a misconception that women are incapable of putting in the time and effort necessary to be leaders. However, women continue to shatter that misconception and many more every day.

The investigation and writing for this story was done in part by Strong Women. For an earlier draft of this piece, source interviews were done.


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