Article by Kay Shi

Close your eyes and think of a person in a position of power. Although a gender wasn’t specified,  it’s not far-fetched to believe that most of the people, images, and names that popped into your head were associated with men.

Why?

Bamboo Telegraph Video recently published a video on the extremely apparent gender gap in the councils in our school. The video featured female students who were in a position of power in their respective batch councils, and were questioned about the mechanics of the said gender imbalance. However, just a few hours after the video was made public, several unnamed Youtube users started commenting under it, some saying that “women are simply not made for leadership roles” and how “most people that are made for them are men.” The video has generated a lot of controversy since its publication, but the following stance has been taken: no gender is better than the other at leading. Yes, it is true that more men compete for these leadership positions but under no circumstance is it valid to say that men are “better leaders” than women.

ISSBA for SY 2017-2018 had no women representatives and the batch councils are still, for the most part, very much male-dominated. This election season, promise has been shown with many more girls running for these elite positions, in hopes to turn this tide around.

Any woman anywhere, whether it be in a school or workplace, has the same abilities and the same amount of power as men do. The sole reason why those members have been elected by the general public is that they want to be represented, and they want their thoughts heard. So, dear reader, how are women going to be represented when there aren’t that many women in their councils, their boards, their committees, to begin with? All throughout history, women were treated as the minority. Women share approximately half of the world’s population, and yet over and over again, the gender imbalance in leadership occur over and over again. America has had over two hundred years of history, and a woman in the Oval Office hasn’t yet been seen. Everyone sat back and watched as again and again, men took the political stage. Some people claim that men are more often placed in positions of leadership due to the amount of testosterone that men have that they are inherently more competitive- but that claim is not in fact true. It’s not the hormonal changes that influence people’s decisions on running for a leadership position, but the changes, attitude, and effect that they have on other people that get them into those positions.

Some people attribute the lack of female leaders to the differences in men and women’s emotional perspectives.  Women are seen as the more emotional sex, and because of this, they are seen as people who are not fit to handle the pressures of taking on leadership and management roles. Men are generally perceived as more stoic, and therefore, less likely to crack under pressure. The assumption that women are generally more emotional is true, the assumption that therefore they are more likely to crack under pressure is not. Women in power frequently use their emotional capabilities to empathize with the people under their command, and subsequently come across as a much more sensitive leader who is both capable of getting things done as well as being in touch with the emotions that may run in a workplace or community.

All around the world, women have begun to take charge. Female labor force participation in Australia has been steadily increasing over the last sixty years. Women are finishing university degrees at an unprecedented rate, and female representation in tertiary education programs that were previously male-dominated, such as life sciences, business, and law, has improved (theconversation.com). The race for US Senate and the US house representatives have climbed from 2% to 20% in 2015, and state legislatures have climbed to a 24.8% in the same year.

So why are there still so few women in leadership and management roles? Some people like to blame it on women and their decision to raise children at an early age. This decision may cause them to believe that working in a position of management will prevent them from bonding with their children, and although that is a perfectly valid reason, it cannot be made into a stereotype. It cannot be used as a reason for people to bar women, and for women to bar themselves from taking on leadership roles.

So I urge you now, women reading this article–open up your laptop and apply for that position that you have been considering. Start making your voice heard. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? Getting rejected? Getting laughed at? The only thing that will help women all around the world get their voices across and get into those management and leadership positions- the only thing that will help feminism as a movement and erase the gender imbalance – is you getting your point across and having your voice heard. You have the same amount of power, the same say, the same rights as any man does. You have the power to make a change.

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