Women intensely contribute to the development of humanity on the scale of individuals, organizations and societies. They do it, for sure, passionately, often suffering unequal opportunities. In terms of parity, inequality between men and women in decision-making positions is obvious. According to the Skema Observatory of feminization of French companies, women hold less than 10% of seats in the executive boards, while they represent 34% of staff and almost 30% of middle management. In the United States of America, the situation is similar according to CNN Money Analysis: only 14.2% of the top 5 executive positions of the 500 largest US companies (S&P 500) are held by women. Worse, only 23 of the S&P 500 CEOs are women (less than 5%)!
Dwight Eisenhower, former President of the United States of America, brilliantly defined leadership as “The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it". What is very striking in Eisenhower’s definition is the special emphasis placed on the capacity for influence and persuasion which implies an implicit and subtle power the leader has. Leadership is not a question of injunctive authority but rather implies an indirectly controlled action. Women have this innate ability to influence in an effective and efficient way, which makes female leadership an effective one.
Women and men are born with the same intelligence capabilities and the same mental and psychological faculties. Nature has made it so that some faculties relating to the physical strength of women are less impressive than those of men. That said, in terms of emotional and intuitive faculties, women often surpass men and manage to steer several decisions and actions across organizations without direct confrontation through omnipresent and implicit leadership.
Promoting female leadership while avoiding inequality is, then, a key to effective performance and sustainable success of organisations. We must certainly promote parity in sensitive positions, which would require a profound cultural change throughout the world. The historic words of Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, on March 8, 2016, must indeed inspire all men: “Every day, I meet incredible women who inspire me to be a better feminist and a better person. Women can do (and be) anything they want. But powerful cultural change cannot happen when only half of the population works toward that change. Men need to act, set examples and be role models... We should not be afraid of the word feminism...”
By Farid Yandouz