Importance of women in leadership roles

By Chanuli Randunu and Sayumi Jayawardene.

Gone are the days where so-called, “male dominated roles” such as political
involvement and leadership as a whole are set aside exclusively for men. We have entered what would have been a ‘Utopia’ in the past for women in terms of a constantly growing, revolutionary change in roles for women in leadership spheres. Evolving job needs are empowering women and levelling the playing field. We can now be at a day and time where a woman can at the least, hope to receive the same recognition as a male figure in the job sphere.

However, needless to say, it hasn’t always been this way around the world, nor is it even remotely at this level in some, if not most, third world countries. As of status quo, while we are most definitely moving forward towards a better future, leadership spheres for women are immensely limited, with the uncontested, common belief being that this is the man’s domain. It is indeed an overwhelming relief to see women like Kasturi
Chellaraja Wilson, the first female CEO of a conglomerate group in Sri Lanka, rising forward as a pinnacle of example for the aspiring female youth of our country.

As Hitler was for the Nazis’ and Stalin was for the communist USSR, a pioneer is needed as a face for a revolution. If women start to step forward as role models, and make an initial move, this will pave the way for other women to step out of their comfort zones and venture further out into the field of leadership; including and not limited to the business world.

In most parts of the world today, we see women going beyond their role as mothers or housewives and conquering higher heights, sometimes even challenging men in their respective work fields. A rapid and significant increase could be seen in the number of women taking up leadership roles in the 21 st century when compared to any other time, across the world. This is mainly due to the loosening of barriers to women’s leadership
with the society coming into the realization of the capabilities and the capacity of a woman. The ability to work collaboratively with groups, emotional intelligence, rational thinking and better problem solving ability has paved the way for women to be put in leadership roles in the present day, more than ever before.

Some of the most iconic women in the 20th century would be the first female Prime minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher, Marxist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg, Nobel prize winner Marie Curie, Princess Diana and Indira Gandhi who was the first female Prime minister of India. Even though these outstanding female personalities achieved some level of success they had to face many challenges on their way merely because of their gender. Many years later in the most advanced version of humans in history, or in the so-called generation z, gender discrimination still remains a challenge to women when taking up leadership roles in a society.

Although women around the world are closing the gender gap in areas such as education and health, only twenty three percent of world politians are women. Nevertheless , personalities like the German Chancellor Angela Markel, Theresa May, Ellen Sirleaf who was the first female President of Africa, Jacinda Arden; Prime Minister of New Zealand who became the world’s youngest head of government have surely made a significant contribution towards changing the attitude about female leaders in
leadership roles.Hence it is clear that only a more balanced society with more females in leadership roles would enable a country and the world as a whole to gain better peace and prosperity.