Vernon women’s group says normalize gender parity – Lake Country Calendar
We all know that women are under-represented in almost every category of leadership. And each of us, in our own way, works to overcome obstacles in our way. But beyond our individual needs and motivations, have you wondered why it is important for society as a whole that gender parity becomes the norm rather than the exception?
It’s because women make great leaders!
Women have natural and learned abilities that benefit the places where we work. Women tend to lean more naturally towards a cooperative and collaborative work environment rather than a top-down model of leadership.
These are not stereotypical statements. There are articles and studies that attest to this.
It is now recognized that good leaders have, among other attributes, a balanced set of soft skills, sometimes referred to as emotional intelligence. These skills include adaptability, a positive attitude, empathy, mentoring, conflict management, a consensus and collaborative approach, and teamwork. You might think you don’t have these skills, but take a closer look and don’t sell yourself short.
In 2015, when asked to explain his joint cabinet, Justin Trudeau replied: “Because we are in 2015! And he appointed another cabinet for gender equality in 2019. It seemed like it was obvious that NOW is the time for gender equality.
For society, this means not only at the highest level of government, but at all levels in our workplaces. Women represent half of the population and are also expected to occupy half of managerial positions in various sectors of the economy.
The need for a more diverse, and therefore better, model of leadership is necessary for the success of businesses and organizations so that their structures more closely reflect the society to which they serve.
If it is recognized that women have the skills, why have more of them not translated into leadership roles?
One reason may be that women have generally not had access to the avenues used by men to progress, especially the former “men’s clubs”, whether they are of a recreational, organizational or professional nature.
What is going on in these male strongholds of power?
Besides the social aspect, it is clear that what is going on is professional networking, role model and mentoring.
Women must create these avenues for themselves. Women need the support of other women to be successful.
We can frame. We can help a colleague to improve her position, give her some advice. We recognize that each of us is a role model for someone (maybe a son or daughter, a student, a colleague). We can help newcomers network.
One organization that offers these various opportunities is Vernon Women in Business. Check it out on vwib.com. There are others. Look for them – or create them!
In addition to the personal supports above, more concrete infrastructure is needed. This includes affordable childcare, paid parental leave, guarantees to return to previous positions once maternity leave has run out, and opportunities for training and development.
The progress of these measures will in part be achieved through the collaboration of women to advocate for improvements at all levels of government. Organizations such as the Canadian Federation of Women Graduates of Vernon Universities provide a vehicle for this. Let’s see what we can do to accelerate progress. Collectively, we can do it.
We are not all Dragons Den panelists, but we can lead by example, work hard and cooperate.
It’s time to step over the glass ceiling!
The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFWU) Vernon is a local voluntary organization that welcomes all women who promote, defend and encourage women.