How the role of women in leadership has changed

Nowadays, gender equality is one of the most discussed topics. More women are heading for top leadership positions and hence there is an ongoing discussion about which gender has more leadership qualities. Scandinavia is full of female leaders and gender equality there is one of the best in the world.  However, even in gender-almost-equal Norway, men are still dominating the leadership positions.

Lists of the most influential people – very few women

When looking at the lists of the most influential people in the world, men have a tendency to dominate. Why is that? Well, this is because about twenty years ago, a woman in the top position was something unheard of, because in those days the majority of people thought that a woman does not have the required skill set and characteristics to be in the managing position. Over time, things have changed, as more women applied and qualified for the top management positions. However, the percentage of women in top positions is still quite low, which means that the stereotype of women not being able to work in a business environment still exists.

Have you heard of Mary T. Bara?

One of the biggest success stories is of Mary T. Bara, as she became the first woman ever to be promoted to the general manager position of a multi-million-dollar company, General Motors. In fact, this is considered to be one of the biggest achievements regarding gender equality, since it broke all of the stereotypes of women not being able to run a business. There were a lot of studies conducted about this specific event and almost all of the results lead to the same conclusion. Main question regarding these types of studies is in which industries do women tend to thrive as leaders? Well, the answer is that gender is not the deciding factor, it is the company’s culture. Industries, such as the military, various government institutions, that are known for their ruggedness, physicality and strength see men as suitable leaders, while industries that require more of a psychological, humane and caring approach tend to choose women as their leaders and managers.


Being a manager does not necessarily mean being a leader. One of the most important traits of a good leader is to strive for the best possible outcome together with your team, not by yourself. Women tend to have a strong urge for collectiveness and harmony in a workplace. They are good at listening, solving and dealing with problems. Hence, women are seen as great leaders, since they ensure successful teamwork.

Competency is the key

Despite all of the different characteristics between men and women, more people think that gender is not the key factor when trying to be the best that one can be. According to Pew Research center’s survey conducted in 2015, as much as 80% of respondents said that gender has no influence on a person’s levels of effectiveness. Regardless of the industry that a person is trying to conquer, whether it’s a military or an educational institution, both women and men have equal chances of reaching the top management positions if they are qualified and competent at what they do.

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