Women as Leaders More and more women are rising to the leadership challenge, even in some of the most male-dominated industries. The increase in the number of women attending university, in the workplace or starting their own business has demonstrated to men who own businesses that women can be both managers and mothers, thus showing their male counterpart that women can in fact “do it all”. In this paper the history of women in the workforce will be outlined, as well as the challenges they face. The changing attitudes towards women taking over family businesses will be looked at briefly, how women lead along with a comparison to how men lead, and a critique and conclusion of their leadership style will also be discussed. History and The Challenges Women Face A number of events have occurred over the last twenty-five years or so that have resulted in the rise of the female in the work-for-pay world. Beginning in the mid-1970’s, women began going to business school and earning their Master’s of Business Administration and, as a result, building on that education and gaining work experience (Nelton, 1999).
The days of the one income family are over. Females need to be armed with a university or college degree to be a contributor to this century’s model of the family unit and in this time of “education inflation”, the demand for higher education is growing at a staggering rate. In the corporate sector, the generation of women who entered the corporate world two to three decades ago have blazed the trail now followed by ever-growing numbers of women (Shaiko, 1997). The great strides women are making in the work force can be attributed to numerous factors including the: “passage of equal employment opportunity legislation’s, modifications in job requirements, more females on the buying side, elevated educational achievements by females, more women in business schools, the huge percentage of female business school graduates with ‘androgynous’ orientations, and the willingness of many young women to postpone marriage and child-bearing.” (Comer, et.al, 1997).