Women in Leadership: Making Women Voices Count
Burugu is a Libertarian, with keen interests in meaningful civic engagement among young people in communities. At Dadapower, he serves as the Community Engagement Lead. In marking the International Women’s Day 2021, we extend a conversation on #WomeninGovernance hosted by Zamara Foundation two weeks ago. Burugu shared with us his take on women in leadership dynamics, and what it takes to achieve more numbers of influential women leaders.
Women’s leadership and governance in my opinion, is the involvement of women in every sphere of life, and every level of decision making – be it in private sector or in government – and making sure that their voice at the table counts.
Why is it so important for countries to have women leaders? The importance of women leaders lies in the premise that they represent a substantial proportion of the population, whose needs and aspirations also count. Also, in highly patriarchal societies, the role of women leaders cannot be understated as they are instrumental in bridging the gender inequality gap in decision making circles.
Why aren’t there more women in leadership positions? What are some challenges and barriers? One main reason is cultural factors. It has been passed down through generations that men are the leaders, and women take a secondary position in leadership. Secondly, political systems are created in a manner that poses unfair competition to women.
As concerns leadership in higher learning institutions, there are specific positions reserved for female student leaders which could be considered as non-consequential (not mainstream) leadership positions such as organizing secretary and treasurer positions in Student Unions.
What is one benefit of having a gender based system of leadership? A gender-inclusive leadership ensures a balanced approach to gender specific challenges.
Does gender play a role in leadership? Yes, through socialization, gender specific experiences could promote or limit the nurturing of leadership qualities amongst individuals.
What should be done to promote more women into leadership and governance roles? We need to continue creating change in societal mindsets and attitudes towards Women in Leadership. This has been going on, and it still needs sustained efforts to nurture women leaders, and support them in meaningfully influencing decision making processes.
Here’s what our other male members said about promoting women’s leadership: