Articles // March 03,2023

Women in leadership: Embracing equity begins with accepting and honouring yourself

By Meenakshi Girish, Editor: Chandrani Datta

Embracing equity begins with embracing oneself wholly, and this is especially necessary for women leaders. There is always an identity crisis when it comes to women leaders donning multiple hats and wondering if they are doing justice to any of the roles. This brings a spiritual disconnect that leads to resentment and dissatisfaction, lowering productivity.

In the corporate world, there are various factors that can contribute to women not accepting themselves wholly in the corporate world, such as gender stereotypes, workplace discrimination, and societal expectations. Women have been fighting for equal rights and opportunities for years, and while progress has been made especially in the professional world, there is still a long way to go.

The presence of gender stereotypes in the workplace can create unrealistic expectations and limitations for women. For example, women may feel pressure to conform to traditionally feminine roles, such as being nurturing or emotional, which can be seen as incompatible with leadership positions. This can cause women to doubt their own abilities and feel like they don’t belong in the corporate world. On the other hand, there might be neglect on the domestic front which makes them feel like they didn’t do enough. There is a lack of compassion towards themselves which give rise to feelings of inadequacy. To truly embrace equity, women leaders must first learn to love and accept themselves fully.

Women leaders face unique challenges that their male counterparts do not. They are often held to higher standards and scrutinized more harshly for their actions and decisions. Furthermore, social bias and discrimination are more common for women in the workplace. These challenges can lead women to doubt themselves and their abilities, but women leaders need to embrace who they are and what they bring to the table.

What does it mean to accept yourself as you are?

Embracing oneself wholly means accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses and recognizing that both are valuable. It means valuing oneself as a whole person, not just for one’s accomplishments or job title.

Women leaders must learn to celebrate their successes and not be too hard on themselves when things don’t go as planned. This means letting go of their perfection fallacy on days when they cannot strike a balance. They must also recognize that they have a unique perspective and voice that is valuable to their organization. When women leaders do so, they can also better support and empower other women.

They can serve as role models and mentors, helping other women navigate the plethora of challenges in leadership. They can also create a culture of equity and inclusion within their organization, by promoting diversity and advocating for policies that benefit all employees.

Easier said than done

Corporate women may have to unlearn societal messages that have told them they are not good enough or that they should not speak up. They may have to work to overcome imposter syndrome and other forms of self-doubt. This is where self-care and utmost self-compassion come in.

Women leaders must prioritize their well-being and practice self-love, which means treating themselves with kindness and understanding when they face challenges. In addition to accepting themselves as they are, women leaders must also embrace the concept of equity.

Equity means giving everyone what they need to succeed, not just treating everyone the same. Women leaders must work to dismantle the systemic barriers that prevent women and other underrepresented groups from achieving success. This means advocating policies that promote equity, such as flexible work arrangements and parental leave. It may also mean creating a culture that values diversity and inclusion.

Finally, women leaders must embrace the power of community. No one can achieve success alone, and women leaders must build networks of support through quality collaboration. This means finding mentors and sponsors who can help guide their careers, and also seeking out peers who can provide emotional support and advice.

It means being willing to help others and creating a culture of reciprocity and support within the organization. You will notice several benefits arise on both a personal and professional level by following these techniques.

Data and research

There is a growing body of research that suggests that women in the workplace, who embrace themselves wholly, are more likely to achieve success and happiness in their lives. Here are a few that piqued our interest in this context.

A recent survey conducted by Glamour magazine found that women who are confident in their abilities are more likely to be successful in their careers. The survey also found that women who are comfortable in their skin are more likely to be happy in their personal lives.

Researchers from the University of California found that women who are comfortable with themselves are more likely to speak up in group settings and have their ideas heard and valued by others. A similar survey was conducted by LinkedIn which revealed that a majority of women who are comfortable with themselves are more likely to be successful in their careers.

This involved 75% of respondents advocating strongly that self-confidence was key to their success. The University of Michigan also unearthed the potential of women who embrace themselves wholly. Such women are more likely to take risks and pursue their goals, even in the face of adversity.

These data and insights suggest that self-accepting women are more likely to achieve success and happiness in all areas of their lives. By valuing themselves and their unique strengths, women can overcome self-doubt and achieve their full potential. This can lead to greater satisfaction and fulfillment in their personal and professional lives, as well as greater impact in their chosen fields.

An inspiring story

Simran was a mother of two children, worked full-time as a marketing executive, and was also pursuing a graduate degree in business administration. Her life was a constant juggling act, as she tried to balance her family, career, and education.

Every morning, she would wake up at 5:00 am to prepare breakfast for her family and get her kids ready for school. She would then rush to her office, where she worked tirelessly to meet tight deadlines and exceed her company’s expectations. During her lunch break, she would squeeze in some studying, reading through her textbooks, and reviewing her notes.

After work, Simran would rush to pick up her children from school, taking them to their various after-school activities and sports practices. Despite her hectic schedule, Simran always made sure to attend her children’s games and recitals, cheering them on from the sidelines. She realized the importance of being present in her kids’ lives when they were still at a nascent stage.

When her children were finally in bed, Simran would sit down to work on her graduate degree, staying up late into the night to complete assignments and prepare for upcoming exams. She knew that her education would help her advance her career and provide a better life for her family, so she was determined to succeed.

Despite the constant demands on her time and energy, she never lost sight of what was important to her. She was passionate about her career, her family, and her education, and she refused to let any of these things fall by the wayside. She was determined to succeed in all areas of her life, even if it meant sacrificing her time and sleep.

One day, Simran’s hard work paid off. “I was offered a promotion at my job, which came with a substantial pay increase and new responsibilities. I also received high marks on my graduate degree, which I completed with flying colors. The best part was how my kids passed their exams and extra-curricular activities with equal vigor! All avenues of my life paid off despite all the social bias,” she reminisced with a smile.

Looking back on her journey, Simran realized that the key to balancing multiple things was to stay focused and disciplined. She learned to prioritize her time, always making sure to devote her attention to the things that mattered most. She also learned to be patient with herself, understanding that there would be times when she would need to make sacrifices to achieve her goals. This story is a testament to the power of perseverance and determination.

Despite facing multiple challenges, she was able to succeed in all areas of her life. Her example is an inspiration to other women who are juggling multiple things, showing that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. It also teaches us the vital importance of being kind, patient, and accepting yourself wholly for who you are.

 In conclusion, embracing equity begins with embracing oneself wholly. Corporate women must recognize their unique strengths and value, and learn to love and accept themselves fully. They must also work to promote equity and inclusion within their organization and in society as a whole.

By embracing the power of community, women leaders can achieve great success and empower other women to do the same. It is time for women to embrace their power and lead the way toward a more equitable and just world.

If you wish to focus on becoming a more equitable leader, speak to us.

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