Confident Leader

Why now is the time for women to lead

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It didn’t start with the Women’s March. It didn’t start with the #MeToo movement.

Women have been leading since the dawn of time. We know it and men know it. We just haven’t been given credit, and the history books don’t tell our stories. But that’s all changing.

We live in a new world where it’s possible for a woman to win the majority of votes in a United States Presidential election. Where 431 women ran for the House nationwide in 2018 compared to only 212 in 2016. Regardless of the catalyst, now is the time for women to step out of the shadows and into leadership roles.

Our issues aren’t hidden anymore

In the past, “women’s issues” were anything from PMS to planning the perfect birthday party. We didn’t talk about postpartum depression or the gender pay gap. Women’s issues were largely defined by the media, politicians and pop culture. It took a long time, but we’re finally seeing our challenges being discussed at the highest levels.

The United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles are guidelines for businesses to empower women in all facets of our lives. The principles include:

  • Corporate leadership that promotes gender equality
  • Establishing professional development programs for women
  • Measuring and reporting gender equality

We’ve also made issues like protecting reproductive rights, family leave programs, women in STEM education, and sexual harassment commonplace topics. We can always do more to advance women’s issues, but we no longer suffer in silence or allow what matters most to women be defined by anyone else. This simple but complex shift has created opportunities for women leaders that we never knew were possible.

We know it’s our time

So many amazing women have worked tirelessly to get us to where we are today. Every day we can see how women have shaped our world and given us the opportunity to make it even better. We’re ready to pursue leadership in ways we never thought possible.

Today, we’re learning the skills needed to make significant changes in every aspect of our lives. Empowerment pioneer Bonnie Bucker created a global movement called Dream Your World, for example, that teaches women and young girls how to manifest their dreams into reality. Last year, Bucker teamed up with webinar platform ClickMeeting to create an online event like no other.

Connected by technology and a will to change lives, the Dream Your World conference offered multi-media presentations and a one-of-a-kind learning experience to young women from 17 countries who needed it the most.

“We would like this event to become an expanding movement where communal dreaming, shared creativity, and cooperation foster transformation for our communities and world,” Bucker told ClickMeeting in a case study recapping the online conference.

We’ve outgrown the “don’t rock the boat” and “let sleeping dogs lie” mentalities. We’re not satisfied with the status quo and are not content to daydream about a better world. We can feel this is our time.

We’re changing the definition of women leaders

There are many lessons to learn from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Regardless of politics, scandals and outside influence, women needed to learn a very difficult lesson: we have been part of the problem.

In Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World, the Director of Communication for the Clinton campaign Jennifer Palmieri explains how everyone expected Hillary Clinton to do the job as good as a man, not as a woman:

“We have intuited that in this world we are to be obliging, calm under pressure, and diligent, and to always keep our emotions in check. Our adaptive skills have served many of us well. But we aren’t in a man’s world anymore. Now it’s our world. And shame on us women if we don’t do something to change the way this game is played so that everybody is able to bring their best to the effort.”

Finally, we’re learning we don’t have to lead like a man. We can simply be ourselves and approach leadership in our own way. It takes courage and conviction to redefine what it means to be a female leader. Yet, it’s our responsibility to step back from traditionally male leadership traits and be bold enough to create a new type of leader.

Becoming bold leaders

Regardless of the advances we’ve made, we still have a long way to go before we have true equality. Women still earn just 82% of what men make for the same job.  It’s outrageous and there is no excuse for paying women less than men for the same work. Yet, this pay gap has been shrinking for the past three decades and we have more opportunities now than ever before.

#MeToo and the Women’s March showed that women have a lot of power when we support each other. These movements have inspired women to lead in new and exciting ways. We’re opening our own businesses and creating innovative companies. We are more engaged in our futures than ever before. And we’re making millions of role models for the next generation of leaders.

From chairing PTO committees to becoming chairperson of the board, there has never been a better time for women to step into leadership roles. We just need to be bold enough to make it happen.

About Amanda Rose

Founder and CEO of The Business Woman Media. Amanda Rose is also the only 'strategic connector', a brand strategist, keynote speaker and host of Amanda Rose TV. Connect with Amanda Rose on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or visit www.amandaroseofficial.com.

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