Posted by: austinbowery10 | February 7, 2013

The Female Advantage Lives On 2/7

Following our discussion on Tuesday, I was researching some of the advantages that women have over men in the workplace.  I stumbled upon a video clip from Sally Helgensen, author of ‘The Female Advantage’ (Not the reading from class), and other novels dealing with women and leadership.  I was intrigued by her leadership studies.  In her speech, Helgensen talks about her experience and other experiences of women in a male dominated work place.  She also talks about the process of her research for her book(s), which I thought was interesting as well.  An key point she states in her speech is that she could only find the negatives of women in leadership roles.  Helgensen boldly states that women provide an ‘inexistible market for what is wrong with them.’  I agree with her because I think we sometimes focus too much on the negative aspects of women that we overlook the positive changes that women bring to their working environments.  What I respect and admire most about Sally Helgensen is that she maintains a positive outlook for women, which I feel like is a dime a dozen these days.  The website below explains some of the key points in Helgesen’s book, and ties in greatly with the Tuhus-Dubrow readings.

Video Clip: http://www.promenadespeakers.com/page274.html

Background Information on Sally Helgeson: http://www.sallyhelgesen.com/

A few questions to consider are: Do you think women have a negative perspective of their own abilities to lead? Do they think they are incapable of stepping up the corporate ladder? Also, are leadership studies on women leaders written predominantly by women and not enough by men?  Is it okay to be like Sally Helgesen and focus more on the positive advantages of women leaders and not to focus as much on the negative aspects?

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Responses

  1. Psychologically its been shown that women tend to more negatively evaluate their abilities than men. I definitely believe that this tendency is a huge roadblock in the way of women gaining higher positions of leadership. Women are obviously not incapable of making it in tough,high stakes leadership positions as they’ve done it before, however, it may take a little more effort and self-efficacy. Women have to put themselves out there and be proud of their achievements and abilities while still recognizing areas where they can grow. All leaders need to do this. And focusing on the positive sounds like a good way to start getting women to do exactly that. Maybe if women were backed up a little more and told more often that they can achieve and that they can be worth more than just what men think of them, then its possible we’d see more women reaching those high positions of leadership.

  2. It’s a sad but true fact that women are more inclined to doubt their own ability, mostly because of how we have historically shaped our ideas of leadership roles and gender roles. Since our model of leadership has not, until very recently, reflected many qualities that are present in our perceived gender role for women, women are less likely to even imagine themselves in a leadership position. We’ve built a culture around leadership that seems to inherently exclude women, and this absolutely has an effect on the confidence and likelihood of a woman trying to obtain a leadership position.

    Additionally, focusing on the positives more than the negatives is as useless to progression as focusing on the negatives more than the positives. The situation can only be accurately evaluated by looking at it in its entirety. Life is a balancing act, and working in the extremes very rarely plays out to anyone’s advantage. There are advantages and there are disadvantages, just as there are with anyone working towards a leadership position. Taking all of them into account equally and adjusting as needed is the only way to succeed. Ignoring the negatives won’t make them go away, but acknowledging them will help in the process of working around them.


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