The trap of Women Leadership
The trap of Women Leadership
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2007.06.01 00:00
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             Last year, the London Times predicted that the upcoming model of a leader will be the “sensitive boss.” Bosses who remember employees’ birthdays or anniversaries, congratulate them when their children go to college, and ask after their parents’ health will be the norm. Some say this trend indicates that a more feminine style of leadership is being spotlighted instead of the authoritative, macho leadership of the past. However, despite the Times prediction, reality seems a little more complex.

For example, Helen Desfosses, a popular political commentator and also a professor of politics at University at Albany in New York, recently had an interview with Chosun Ilbo and made a comment on how women politicians express themselves in public. “Successful women leaders express themselves in two different ways. They sometimes make speeches in confident words and gestures to look strong, while they also sit in their living room full of flowers with an elegant hair style and show their femininity,” says Desfosses.

             The complex attitude of women is not restricted to women leaders but also can be seen from Ewha students. According to the analysis made by Ewha’s Academic-Industrial Cooperation Group, Ewha students do not display typically feminine tendencies that much. The analysis says that the strength of Ewha students is being smart, responsible, elegant, and neat. Their drawbacks are being selfish, arrogant, bad at teamwork, and having no knowledge of male-oriented corporate culture. As Ewha students are criticized frequently for being bad at teamwork but good at doing things alone, it seems clear that there is a gap between the feminine image attached to women and who we actually are.

             Then why is there a difference between what women really have and what others assume that they do? It is similar to the stereotype Western people have that Asian people look all the same. When they get used to Asian cultures, Westerners see each Asian as an individual person, and then they will be able to tell the differences. This is the same with how women are seen from the outside. Women are often bundled up together as one common type labeled “feminine,” and their differences are ignored or minimized. However, those differences are real and strong.

             Feminine leadership can be what the society calls for, but not all women are feminine. If there are feminine women who are caring, soft, and sensitive, there also are other women who display the independent strength which is mostly categorized as masculine. This is why it sounds hollow to predict that more feminine leaders will be wanted in society.

Women cannot be grouped as a whole but each has its own individuality. There is no need to try to become feminine or be confused from the discrepancy between what you are and what you have to be. What is best for you is to develop our personal strengths to the utmost. Whether society thinks your strengths are feminine or masculine, just be who you are.

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