Women Leaders: Two words when put together and put into practice could define your future. Two words that could make all the difference and change the world if you just ‘follow the leader’ by the women who came before you. Whether you aspire to start your own business, go out and find a better job, become a manager at your workplace, or seek a higher education, the important thing is to embrace the idea of yourself as a leader and have a dream.
Why should women lead? With the violence, poverty, injustice, illiteracy and suffering in this world, we need women to take their rightful place at the head of the table and lead in record numbers. These troubling times cry for understanding, balance, collaboration, order
and compassion, leadership qualities naturally found in women. Let’s look at the Latina leaders who have paved the way for future Latinas, such as Sonia Sotomayor who became the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in U.S. History, or Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who was the president of Argentina for the past eight years. Or consider the female leaders profiled in HipLatina’s ‘success stories’, singer Eli Jas, Senator Hilda Solis, and astronaut Dr. Ellen Ochoa who carved their own unique path to greatness.
But these celebrated women walk the road-less traveled. According to the Forbes article, “The Most Undervalued Leadership Traits of Women”, there were only 19 female presidents and prime ministers worldwide, and only 4.6% women who held CEO positions inside Fortune 500 companies. These percentages, although low, demonstrate slowly but surely, women can become leaders if women rise to the occasion.
In the article, it lists the six undervalued traits of women leaders: 1. Opportunity-driven 2. Strategic 3. Passionate 4. Entrepreneurial 5. Purposeful and Meaningful 6. Traditional and Family Oriented and remain undervalued and underappreciated in their workplace and community. Do you see these leadership traits in yourself, but are afraid to put yourself in the spotlight? Do you think no one will trust your abilities? Perhaps you lack the confidence and are afraid to try.
The essential question is: How can women access their power? For one, speak your mind. Women cannot take a leadership role if they don’t have a voice. Second, stand-up for what you believe in. By fighting on a matter that is important, no matter how big or small, women will have an influence on those around them. It’s also critical you gain your own independence as you train to be a leader. Take baby steps toward your life goals, like saving a little money every day, or putting your name in for a promotion at work that could one day make you the big boss. Take a class in college that will earn you a degree, or get your own little place and with those pennies saved, eventually own a home.
Little by little, the more times you climb up the ladder to achieve your dreams the more opportunity you will bring into your life. The bigger the stride in your steps, the greater the results and bigger the reward. This is your opportunity to shine at work, at home, in your community, to aim for a better future, and show you are not afraid of rejection or making a mistake.
Female leadership is a topic that deserves conversation around the dinner table with friends and family, in boardrooms, and in government. The more it’s accepted as a possibility, the greater the numbers at the top. If in your heart you know you were meant to be a leader, then what are you waiting for?