More women are stepping into leadership roles than ever before, running businesses and creating their own wealth. Yet, as evolved as we think we are becoming in this fast-paced world of interconnectivity and perceived push for equal rights, the gender bias continues to creep in to every facet of our lives. From who we vote for, to who runs big business, or to whom we interact with every day, or the subtle biases of stereotyped traditional working
roles, archaic views of what ‘leadership’ looks like predominate.
Leadership consultant, coach and UK delegate to the G20’s Women20 specialising in women’s economic empowerment, Rebecca Hill, believes there are several ways in which that gender bias continues to manifest in our community. Through reinforcement of perceptions in the media and publicly elected positions, as well as policy making and utilisation, the current landscape sees women often still left behind, even when the intentions are good.
“I am concerned that women are being put off leadership because of what they see going on in the media, particularly in the political sphere and the way women leaders are portrayed in that context and held to a different standard. Male leaders tend to get feedback on their performance, but women leaders tend to get personal comments – derogatory and complimentary, which is not a good thing,” Rebecca says.
“For example, men still tend to dominate political candidate shortlists, which means women have a much slimmer chance of a shot at being elected. This reinforces the bias around what it means to be a politician or an elected official. If we, as the electorate are going to be going to be paying for these individuals to be working on behalf of the general public, then we need to know that these people, across all levels of organisations, are representative of the general public – which is certainly not the case currently,” she says.