29 March 2014

is leadership gender-biased?

IS LEADERSHIP GENDER-BIASED???

The debate between the supremacy of the genders have been in session since time immemorial. In the past, it would seem that men had the upperhand but these days, women are starting to leave their mark in many aspects from business to politics rather than just domestic affairs. In my humble opinion, both men and women have the potential to be great leaders but the question of 'better leaders' does not lie in a person's gender alone but his or her innate character. In this essay, let us explore the qualities that make men and women great leaders before focusing on other factors that are unrelated to gender.


First and foremost, men have some distinctive qualities that make them far better leaders than women. We can attribute this to the fact that men are generally physically stronger than women. This is undeniable because a man has clearly more muscle mass than a woman so in terms of leadership that has to do with physical ability, men win hands down. For example, in the army, most leaders are men that are buffed up and better able to handle the physical exertions of this field compared to women who are more delicate in structure. Men are also known to have better ability to strategise in terms of warfare and they seem to command their armies better. For example, great leaders have been men such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan, Hitler and so on. Moreover, men tend to be able to make quick decisions that are not usually based on their emotions but logical, rational and practical reasons. Women, however, seem to be very emotional creatures so they maymake poor leadership decisions if they simply follow their feelings. Therefore, men havemany qualities like physical strength, ability to strategise well and make snap decisions which can make them better leaders.


However, women have proven to be better leaders in an increasing number of cases. This can be seen as more and more countries have entrusted women to be their leaders. These women have a more 'feminine' approach to leadership which is more sensitive towards the needs of society. For instance, history is peppered with exemplary female leaders such as Indira Ghandi, Benazir Bhutto, Eva Peron and present day heroines such as Aung San Suu Kyi. Women tend to be more caring in nature and quite patient in dealing with problems which makes them better leaders compared to men who could be lesssensitive and impatient. Most women are also known to be perfectionists, and this is an advantage because they are often very meticulous and detailed in carrying out their duties as leaders. Thus, with a more open-minded society, an increasing number of women are being given the onus to take the lead and may even one day supersede men in their traditional leadership roles!


Although I have gone to great lengths to show that both men and women have the ability to be great leaders, I still completely believe that 'leadership' has little to do with gender and a lot to do with a person's innate character. This means that to be a great leader does not depend on whether you are male or female but rather your personal characteristics that drive you to succeed. Men and women both possess the qualities of confidence, responsibility, time management and delegation skills, public relations and good communication skills, positive outlook, high commitment, creativity and innovation, forward-looking visionaries and many other characteristics of a good leader. Hence, the question of gender should not arise because being male or female does not guarantee the ability to lead well.


In conclusion, history has shown that men make better leaders but this is a faulty argument because it does not take into consideration the fact in the old days women were discriminated against and not allowed to lead. Today, society is more open-minded andmore women are taking the helm and proving that women can be better leaders. Nevertheless, leadership to me is 'genderless' whereby it is completely dependent on a person's positive characteristics which makes people respect them and want to follow in their footsteps.
Post a Comment