Female Leadership in Africa

Date : 26 October 2017
Event Type : Webinar
Time : 17:00 – 18:00

Following gender equality initiatives around the world, female leadership has experienced an impressive growth spurt. However, despite the growth in this area, women are still greatly underrepresented in businesses, and especially so at senior levels. Instead of rising above to top executive positions, women are overflowing the middle- management positions, creating a build-up of managers ready for advancement. The ‘glass ceiling’ is a common term used to describe the success of large numbers of women at lower and middle levels of leadership who seem unable to advance to higher levels within an organisation because of the existing standard of predominantly male top leadership teams. The most prominent barriers to their advancement are social and cultural stereotypes. Other barriers that women experience include early socialisation, limited educational attainment, multiple roles, discrimination, and organisational policies and procedures. Furthermore, research has found that women lead differently from men. Women are thought to have a more democratic, participative, and collaborative style of leading than men, who are described as having a command and control style. However, a recent JvR report has found evidence that sets women executives in particular apart from other working women, and has created a profile of the African women executive using emotional intelligence, personality, values, and derailers. This profile is not in line with typical female or typical African values and traits. Therefore, the proposed psychological profile of the very small percentage of females that have made it to the top serves as proof that organisational culture needs to evolve into becoming less Westernised and male-dominated, while becoming more open towards African women. Moreover, there is a need for businesses globally to employ and promote well-rounded individuals based on their leadership potential, and not according to existing preconceptions based on their gender or heritage.


Elcke Du Plessis

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