It’s a sad but unavoidable fact that the gender equality gap is very real and prevalent in many high-profile organizations. Women-only leadership programs like the one provided by Integral Leadership Design are crucial to creating diverse and powerful workplaces.
Why Do We Need Women-Only Leadership Programs?
The world needs more women who are empowered to lead like women. Many female leaders feel hampered by a gap between their competence and confidence, which is preventing them from embracing the relaxed, poised leader that is already in them. Often women lack leadership presence due to a lack of inner strength, which impacts on how they show up in their personal and professional lives. It is this lack of authenticity and confidence that I help aspiring and current female leaders to overcome during my Purpose, Passion and Presence leadership program for women.
Addressing the Leadership Gender Gap
A leadership gender gap at any level is evidence that your leadership development programs are missing something. Most leadership programs are designed to address the skill gaps of men (as identified over years of research). They are not designed to help women become authentic, powerful, and feminine leaders. Leadership expert and fellow Forbes contributor Sally Helgesen comments that “the continuing paucity of women at very senior levels and the disparities in how women are still often paid has the potential to be toxic.” Many organizations continue to hire primarily male senior staff and to have mostly male board members, which is disheartening and frustrating for capable, qualified women.
In order to eliminate this leadership gender gap, it is vital that women be in a supportive, empathetic dynamic of a women- only leadership development group. The particular challenges that women face from male-stereotyped environments, means that there is a desire from many women (regardless of their seniority) to understand better how their own socialized expectations and the stereotyped expectations of others may have an influence on their behaviour and its interpretation at work.
Study after study indicates that these things can negatively influence women’s confidence in their abilities, their perception of their own potential, and their ability to articulate and express their needs and ambitions. The issue is that because of the socialised differences between men and women, if women are treated the same as men in a male stereotyped environment with a male model of leadership then it is much harder for women to be successful than it is for men. Thus it being more helpful to think about women being ‘equal but different’.
My women-only leadership programs focus on closing the gap between competence and confidence so that women can lead themselves and others with their authentic best selves.
Addressing Gender-Specific Career Derailers
Gender-specific career derailers aren’t addressed in most leadership programs. These are skill sets in which most men don’t need education, e.g. assertiveness, self-promotion, and asking for opportunities. These, plus others, are essential to women’s career advancement and turn into derailers if they aren’t addressed. A lack of authenticity is a very common gender-specific career derailer that many women struggle with. According to Brené Brown, “If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage,
blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.” Not being true to yourself that can hold back women from excelling in leadership positions and enjoying overall well-being and happiness in their personal and professional lives.
Creating Comfortable Learning Modes for Women
Women are more comfortable being in a learning mode with other women. They don’t fear their vulnerabilities being used against them. In a recent survey of women viewed as high potential, 93% said that they think that women-only leadership programs are important to their development. That’s why many of my Leadership Development Programs for Women are group sessions, and I provide course members with lifetime membership of my private and exclusive Facebook forum. By collaborating with like-minded women who are passionate about becoming their best selves you can grow your tribe with people who provide support, expertise, feedback, validation and energy.
If you are considering taking part in a women-only leadership coaching program like those provided by Integral Leadership Design, then I highly recommend putting your doubts aside, cleaning your life to make room for the positive change that the program will provide, and getting into the sessions ASAP