Society today has shut half of the population from becoming leaders. Half of the population do not have a say on rules that govern them. Half the population are not being represented in certain laws. Half the population are not being considered when laws are made. Which half of the population is this? This half of the population is women.
Over the years, certain beliefs and prejudices have allowed women to be shut out of holding political positions. Today, women are in government in only 21 countries, despite the strong case that their leadership makes for more inclusive decision-making and more representative governance. Men are still 75 per cent of parliamentarians and hold 73 per cent of managerial positions. Most negotiators in formal peace processes are also men (UN Women).
In the midst of a global pandemic, many women are working on the frontline as legislators, healthcare workers, community leaders, and more. Although women’s organizations and community groups shoulder much of the responsibility for preventing the spread of the virus and serving those in greatest need, they are perennially left out of decision-making processes (UN Women). Yet, a woman’s ability to lead is often questioned, with faux concern of a government failing due to our inability to separate our minds from our hearts, to make good decisions, or to be logical; implying that women cannot be capable leaders like men are.
However, the real question is why women are being shrinked? Why is their power is being stifled? Is society scared that women would lead effectively? Are they scared that they might not be able to control women if they prove themselves to be powerful? Or if they are shown the heights that they could reach? Is it because women are more emotional, and they would not be able to handle the realities and the hardship that comes with leadership? Is it because women cannot keep their feelings aside to lead?
A lot of people believe that women should think like a man but act like a lady. They think that men must be doing something right if they make up the majority of leaders, so why not try to emulate them? This logic fails to recognise the numerous incompetent leaders in the world (many of whom are male). The problem is not that women are incompetent, but that there are numerous obstacles for them to overcome for them to become leaders. Given that men do not face such obstacles, there is a surplus of overconfident, narcissistic, and unethical male leaders (Harvard business review).
It is really appalling that many citizens would choose to elect a male candidate, that they know has poor history of leadership, over a female candidate, solely due to the fact that the candidate is male. We constantly hear things like “women are too emotional to lead”, so by default, it would be better for this horrible unethical man to lead instead, just because he is a man. It is frustrating for other women like myself, because these men then go on to vote and make laws that only favour themselves, and individuals like themselves, rather than the whole community. Laws regulating women’s bodies are not be made by people who understand women’s bodies, but by people who really and truly only seek to oppress women, and lessen the power that we have.
Women are not too emotional to lead. Women have led and women will always continue to lead. Women are strong., Whilst many women constantly take up the position of breadwinner, they are women who lead in the home. There are many female leaders, like Jacinda Ardern, who quickly responded to the coronavirus pandemic in New Zealand, and the Christchurch mosque shootings that happened in 2019, who do an amazing job leading.
Even if women are emotional, there are certain behaviours that women exhibit that men could adopt in leadership; like empathy, humility, and putting the needs of others over your own needs, which could possibly lead to better international relations.
A woman’s ‘place’ in society is everywhere and nowhere – women are entirely capable of leadership and should not be confined to the home. Not only is diversity in leadership is essential for societal progression, but women should be able to have the same opportunities as men to found a career in politics if they wish to. Therefore, the international community must do more to increase and promote women in leadership.
 (women and leadership: a contextual perspective)
 (Harvard business review)
I am an LLB Law (Hons) student at the University of Central Lancashire. I was born and raised in Nigeria. I love writing, I find it very therapeutic and FemLegal works well for me because i’m interested in gaining more knowledge about gender and the law outside of my university setting, with like minded and passionate individuals.