Posted by: Carol Elizabeth | November 16, 2016

Where do we go from here?

As this semester is coming to end, I’ve been trying to apply what I know about women in leadership to all situations in my life. More specifically, I’ve been trying to take more notice to concepts such as second generation gender bias, gender roles, and stereotypes as I see them played out in the world. Although we’ve shuffled through the experiences of women leaders in real-world contexts, I’m left feeling as if I still don’t understand where we can go from here. Women in the leadership context have come so far, but there are still many miles to tread and many mountains to climb.

The question that really bothered me, that has kept my mind running endlessly in circles is, Is it possible to have complete and total equality? What I mean is, can women, will women, ever be regarded as on the same playing field as men? We have shown progress in many forms and many leadership progress, but when will it ever be noticed?

I’ve also been thinking a lot about race and gender and how they play a role in our society. I had a conversation with my friend the other day and we talked about how if we’re ever going to have equality, we have to start talking about people as if we’re all humans, as if we’re not that different after all. We have to start talking about what PEOPLE are doing, not what white people are doing, what black people are doing, or what women are doing or what men or doing, or what XYZ is doing. We are humans. We are all the same regardless of race, gender, social economic status. We have all have different paths and different backgrounds and different futures but we all have goals, aspirations, and we want to love and we want to grow, but divided we can’t achieve those goals.

WOW, I’m ranting okay.. back to women in leadership.

My main question is, Where do we go from here? What do we take away from this class, and how do we apply it to our worldviews and how we tackle these issues? Are we going to spend our lives dividing ourselves into subgroups?

 

 

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Responses

  1. What I have taken away from this class is the perception of women, and how difficult a career can be. While it is harder for the women in the class to get an overall perception of their male student counterparts it is important to possess the ability to understand the challenges you may face. I for one will use the knowledge we learned in my career if I make it to a position of leadership or hiring employees to not let the 2nd generation gender bias to cause me to subconsciously disqualify women, especially on the basis of family goals.

    Ultimately, you talk about equality among genders which I think will always be lacking equity for one gender or another. Total equity is a principle that only works in theory, but human’s bias plays into their ability to discredit individuals or entire groups. Where the battle is truly won is with the relationships a person holds and who they surround themselves with. As individuals we must essentially find our own equity in a world that is against us. The small wins and the simple things are were us as human beings find our harmony.

  2. I think you bring up a lot of salient, important questions. After studying the labyrinth many women leaders face its easy to get discouraged and wonder if equality is even a realistic goal. I genuinely think that it is; however, I don’t believe it is achieved by overlooking our differences. When we erase the myriad of diversity present in humanity we really miss out on a lot of beauty. I think it is such a kind sentiment to remind everyone of our humanity and try to achieve equality by emphasizing that humanity we all have in common, but it also disregards the unique experiences and cultures many individuals strongly identify with. Rather I think we can move towards equality by seeing the never-ending differences present in humanity…but choosing to value them. Acknowledge the differences present in races, genders, class, sexual orientation, religion, etc. but strive to find value. We have already started doing that in leadership. We no longer say that white, male, autocratic leadership is “the” leadership style. We recognize communal, servant, intersectional leadership now and we are actually starting to value those types of leadership as well. I know I may sound a bit idealistic but I genuinely think that equality is possible this way. In terms of “where do we go from here?” I think we can strive to acknowledge and see beauty in the different experiences, paths of life, and personalities of the human beings we interact with. Even in an environment as small as our class there is so much diversity and different perspectives and I think we have all done a good job at seeing each other’s point of view and valuing the input we give to class discussions. If we can carry that acceptance, kindness, and awareness to every aspect of our lives, I think we have a real shot at adding more equality to our society.

  3. I think that the best thing to do is keep an open mind.
    Yes reading about how women have a block in their way is frustrating and angering, but I think its important to see that and understand that. I feel like we all need to take a step back and really look at what we read in class. We need to remember that these are just trends. Everyone thought frosted tips and jelly sandals were cool back in the 2000s. Granted that did phase out faster than this gender role of leadership. But it was just a trend like this one is. If we sit here and say “this is happening and we need to stop” it will happen. It will be a slow change but we need to keep our heads high and moving forward. Keep an open mind about everything and look towards the future.

  4. The value of equality has always been something to strive towards and fought for. I don’t know if the fight for equality in all realms will ever end but it does not mean we should stop fighting for the right to be equal. What can be helpful in creating a sense of equality within our society is by normalizing certain attributes that would help to create a standard of respect for women regardless of gender. Such as within the family there should be a normalcy for women to be able to work while also raising a family. This should not be seen as divergent to the idea of what a women should do in our society. It may be pessimistic to say but I honestly don’t think that we will be able to achieve full equality within our lifetime because there is just so much uprooting that needs to happen before we can all agree towards equality. There will always be something we need to strive against in the fight for equality.

  5. To get to equity we need to recognize our differences. Many problems arise with people wanting everyone to be the same and therefore they treat them that way. We need to see everyone’s differences and how that shapes them and what they need. Then action needs to be taken to get these needs met, and the differences need to be made okay. Only then will men be okay with a female leader. Only then they will understand that, yes she is different from me but it doesn’t mean that she can’t do it. We need to normalize diversity and make it appreciated so that we can all try to help each other and use each other’s benefits. I truly believe that once the people in top leadership positions think that having people that are different than them is okay then we can make a change. We also need to remember that we want equity not just equality. Equality treats everyone the same, but that is not practical. Equity meets everyone’s needs, the combination of the two will allow women to be seen as competent as men, but also make the job fit around their roles. But I don’t see this change happening anytime soon. The thought process that our class shares is not the norm and many do not want it to be.

  6. You bring up a question that has been on my mind for awhile as well. Where DO we go from here? How do we formulate a plan that’ll be beneficial for both men and women? How long will it take and will people actually want to work toward this change?
    I have so many unanswered questions but then I notice that these are complex questions. We’ve read numerous articles about equality in the work place and yet, I still haven’t come across a strategy that seems to work. One piece of advice that I did take away from this course was that small wins should be taken serious and appreciated because you are one step closer to achieving the bigger goal. We as women have to help each other instead of shutting each other out as soon as we get an inch closer to that CEO position, or Director position and so on.
    In order to approach this issue of inequality we will have to understand our differences and use a different lens outside of ourselves and look in from both perspectives (men and women).


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