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The Insignificant silhouette of Perception

Perception is a powerful thing. And, it is true that for many people, perception is reality. We form perceptions based on our first impressions, observations, past and current experiences, values and beliefs, and biases and stereotypes that we may hold. Women are often held back in their career pursuits due to a number of different barriers. These barriers include lack of access to informal networks, lack of female role models, lack of male sponsors, gender bias and stereotypes, role congruity beliefs, societal expectations about breadwinner and caregiver roles, and even women holding themselves back. 

The role of women in today’s global organizations—and the development of tomorrow’s leaders—is arguably the most pressing talent development issue we face. 

A lot is being written about facts and figures on why Women in key business and decision making roles is good for any organisation. However when it comes to the actual numbers, the numbers tell a different story.

Why do we perceive hiring and forced movement of women in key roles as achieving the diversity goals? Are we making sure that women feel included in decision making? Believe me, as a woman myself, I fight two battles every day - First, to give my best to what I do, Second - To make sure I dont make someone else uncomfortable or I do-not get compared to another colleague.

I believe diversity and inclusion need to overlap, we need to stop analysing the calibre of a person through the lens of gender.

According to a research done by Elizabeth McClean (Link),

Men who use promotive speech are viewed as better leaders, and earn more respect from their peers, than those who used prohibitive speech.

For women, however, she found no benefit—regardless of the type of speech used. Not only was there little difference in the way women were perceived when using promotive and prohibitive speech, neither language style benefited their position as a leader or gained them additional respect. Regardless of what they said and how they said it, they didn’t reap the same benefits as their male counterparts.

Are women leader less effective than men? Research shows that is not the case. Then we should really think why we still feel women do not fit the requirements of Key leadership roles?

Share your thoughts in comments section.

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