Posted by: brittanybranch | January 11, 2018

As the World Changes their View of Women, Women Change their View of Self

Hi everyone!

I’m Brittany & I’m excited about our class blog!  Just wanted to share a thought on women & leadership.

I think it is interesting to examine who women today perceive themselves as leaders versus how women in past generations have perceived themselves.  When I have spoken to women from earlier generations about their experience as a woman leader, they often hesitate to respond.  It’s almost as if they are questioning their own accomplishments and abilities.  They tend to be careful to call themselves a leader.  In our generation, I have noticed that young women leaders tend to be more confident when discussing their leadership experience.  They are proud of what they have accomplished and do not feel as if they have to diminish their success.  I think a lot of this has to do with how society views women leaders.  The women from earlier generations that I have spoken to have come from backgrounds that heavily influenced traditional values.  Sharing about their experiences of when they might have gone against those expectations seems to make them uncomfortable.  In our generation, women leaders are becoming more and more prevalent in society and traditional gender roles are becoming less prevalent.  Therefore, young women tend to be more willing and excited to share about their experiences.  It seems to me that when society supports women leaders, they are more likely to perceive themselves as leaders, give themselves credit for their contributions, and allow others to recognize their abilities and successes.  Here’s to hoping that society continues to support  our good leaders (men & women)!

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Responses

  1. Hi Britt! I think you make a really interesting point about generational differences between women. If I could add: there may be another layer of context that may have prevented women from calling themselves leaders in the past. My grandma (the one who burned her bra, heck yeah) went on to start a pre-school for students with learning disabilities. I think you and I may have called her a leader, but she would not have associated her actions with that word. I wonder if the concept of leader (predominantly male) would have stopped women from claiming that identity, even if they were acting like a leader.

  2. Maddie: I think especially since the term “leadership” is so associated with places of business and political movements it’s harder for older generations to think of leadership in terms of how we have been taught throughout our leadership courses in college.
    Brittany: However, I agree that women have become more confident in recent times to identify as leaders. With the progression of women in high ranking positions and in places of visibility, it is more acceptable for women to also identify as leaders and sources of power.

  3. It is interesting how humble older female generations are when it comes to admitting their leadership. Perhaps they doubt there abilities, or are simply embarrassed of of how being a women leader could paint them in a negative light to their male counterparts. It is wild to think that our own grandmothers may feel that way, while our generation (and even the youngest kids today) view women in leadership as a much more normal role. I think the media has contributed to this, with “girl power” shows like Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder putting females as the powerhouse character in charge!

  4. I have also noticed how our older female generation hesitates to call themselves leadership. I found that it in my family, my grandmothers and mother often associate leadership with leading from the front, and being more directive, which can lead to the fear of being confrontational. I had to explain to them that leadership can also come in the form of serving others, and making sure no one gets left behind. I also realized that they did not think of themselves as being influencing others at times, even when I think they are very influential people. I wonder if this has to do with primarily how they were raised or if it is how females can be downplayed in leadership by society.

  5. I think it’s really important that we as young men and women openly share our experiences with sexism as that is the only way these issues can be addressed. The fact that many of these issues make us uncomfortable proves that they are unacceptable encounters that we should not have to witness in today’s society.


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