Female Leadership: Breaking Boundaries and Advancing the Workplace

The world has witnessed a growing movement to promote female leadership in the past few years. Yet, according to a recent McKinsey report, women are still dramatically underrepresented in leadership roles. So the question might be, does leadership need a gender?


Female Leadership - does leadership have a gender?

The answer is simple: No, because the ability to lead is not specific to any gender. However, it is essential to recognize the different leadership styles that women and men bring. Obviously, organizations become more efficient when they have a diverse leadership team, including more women, pay equity, and gender-agnostic career-pathing. Let us explore the history of women and men in leadership positions, the different leadership styles, the challenges facing female leaders, the advantages of female leadership, and the importance of diversity and inclusion as a key to success.


The history of female leadership

The history of female leadership is long and complex, spanning different cultures and regions worldwide. Women have always played important roles in their communities. However, women’s access to positions of power and leadership has been limited throughout history.

In ancient civilizations, women held important positions of power as priestesses, oracles, and rulers. Examples include Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt, who ruled as pharaoh in the 15th century BCE, and Wu Zetian, the only woman to rule China in her own right during the Tang Dynasty.

However, as societies became more patriarchal, women’s access to leadership positions diminished. During the Middle Ages in Europe, women were largely excluded from public life and were limited to traditional roles such as wife, mother, and homemaker. Women were prohibited from participating in politics, education, or other men-dominated fields.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, women’s movements for equal rights and suffrage gained momentum in many parts of the world. Women fought for the right to vote, access education and employment, and hold positions of power and leadership.

In the United States, women’s suffrage was achieved by ratifying the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. However, women’s political and business leadership representation remained low for many years.

In the latter half of the 20th century, women made significant strides in breaking through the glass ceiling and achieving positions of power and leadership. Women began to enter politics, education, and business in more substantial numbers, and female leaders such as Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, and Angela Merkel emerged as influential figures on the global stage.

Today, women continue to make progress in leadership roles across a wide range of industries and fields. However, women remain underrepresented in many areas of leadership and continue to face barriers such as gender bias and discrimination.

Speexx Promotes Female Leadership

We write this post because, at Speexx, we believe in promoting female leadership. We recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and strive to provide our employees with the tools and resources they need to succeed. By the end of 2022 more than 45% of leadership roles throughout the organization were held by female members of the staff. To this end, we are super-proud that Clara Canevari, Head of Digital Marketing & Growth at Speexx, was named one of the Top 50 Female Leaders in SaaS of 2022 by The Software Report.

Clara Canevari, Speexx

Which leadership styles exist?

Leadership styles can vary greatly depending on the individual. Some tend to be more traditional and authoritarian, while others follow a more collaborative and participative style. Some focus on motivating team members and empathy, while others make results-oriented decisions based on an overarching mission. The best leaders can adapt their style to the context in which they are working and to whom they lead.

However, no “best” leadership style works for every situation or organization. The most effective leadership style is adaptable to different situations and considers the needs and goals of the organization, the team, and the individual team members.

Influential leaders can understand the strengths and weaknesses of different leadership styles and adjust their approach based on the situation. For example, an autocratic leadership style may be necessary to make quick decisions and maintain control in a fast-paced, high-stress environment. In a more collaborative and creative environment, a democratic or servant leadership style may be more effective in promoting innovation and empowering team members.

In addition to being adaptable, effective leaders possess specific characteristics such as good communication skills, building relationships, and a focus on developing and empowering their team members.

Female Leadership styles

Female leadership and today’s leadership types: What leadership style do you cultivate?

Find out more about your leadership style in this comprehensive infographic.